Whether you’ve graduated from college with a top-paying major this past May or you’ve been out of school for a couple of years, adjusting to the real world — AKA #adulting — can be tough, if not terrifying. That’s why we’re hooking you up with a checklist of things you should be doing as you attempt to get situated in the workforce:
If words aren’t enough, browse this list of 18 movies to watch for career inspiration (in case your Netflix queue isn’t already long enough). The films might help you decide on a career path or motivate you as begin your job search.
Before you begin applying to jobs, you’ll want to make sure you have a few things in order. You’ll need a killer resume (not sure of how to write a resume? That’s OK! Browse these resume templates for guidance). Filled yours with the best resume keywords and resume skills.
Decide whether you need a resume objective — having one may or may not make sense for you.
You also need to read up on how to write a cover letter and how to address a cover letter — and make sure you take note of these cover letter tips before sending one out. If you’re new to the game, browse these cover letter examples for inspo.
Whether you’re asked, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “Why should we hire you?” or your interviewer simply begins the discussion with “tell me about yourself,” you don’t want to be caught off guard.
You should also prep questions to ask your interviewer — he or she will no doubt ask, “do you have any questions for me?” as your conversation concludes.
Be ready to discuss your compensation, too. A hiring manager may or may not ask what your salary expectations are, but it’s better to be prepared than flustered. If you have no idea of what you should be expecting, check out these salary calculators that allow you to input some information to determine what kind of compensation you might request or expect from an employer.
Any recent grad should also know how to ask for a reference — chances are you’ll need one, or you’ll need to request a reference letter or recommendation letter, at some point for a job or even if you’re applying to grad school.
Still feeling totally lost? That’s normal. Don’t beat yourself up, but do take some action. Check out these 50 career resources for women and the best companies for women — and take comfort in the fact that you have tons of tools and guides at your disposal!