Graduation 101: How to Do Good Before Your First Job

4 ways to maximize your post-graduation experience before entering the job market.

Jun 9, 2015

After graduation, what's next? [Shutterstock]

You have just thrown your college graduation hat into the air and now the big question looms: “what are you doing to do next?” After spending the greater part of your life in relatively organized education frameworks, trying to figure out the next step can be somewhat daunting. And while some of your friends might have already lined up their first jobs, jumping head first into the job market right after college isn’t for everyone.  
If you are contemplating a different path, these four ideas can provide some meaning and clarity - and also give your resume a boost and prepare you for the next stage in life.  

1. GIVE BACK TO OTHERS BY VOLUNTEERING

Volunteering is not a one-sided street; those who give also receive exponentially. Your time can be well spent volunteering by finding an organization or cause that speaks to your heart.
BENEFITS: Hone and develop professional skills, provide exposure to diverse individuals and communities, enhance your empathetic side.
WHERE TO BEGIN: Americorps NCC is a 10-month residential volunteering program for individuals aged 18 -24, in which they carry out national and community service in various communities throughout the US.  For short term volunteer options, check out the search engines VolunteerMatch or All For Good.

2. STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE BY TAKING A TRIP

Traveling on your own might seem a bit scary, but there are tons of young people traversing the globe – some on a tight budget.
BENEFITS: Discover foreign cultures and meet new people, take risks by trying out different things, beef up your independence by being solely responsible for your choices and belongings.
WHERE TO BEGIN: Channel your interests and pop onto the Internet to begin research. To add a good-doing edge to your worldly adventures, read about 7 ways to make your next vacation abroad count and consult these 5 websites that will insert meaning into your next trip.  

Open yourself to taking a trek to distant countries. [Shutterstock]

3. FINESSE YOUR TALENTS WITH AN INTERNSHIP

Dip your feet into the professional waters by seeking out an internship with a company or organization that interests you.
BENEFITS: Learn about a workplace from the inside, make solid connections for future networking, gain experience and specialized skills.
WHERE TO BEGIN: Most college alumni networks have a wide database of internship opportunities, and since you are fresh out of school it will be easier to snag a paid or unpaid internship to show you the ropes. You can also look at Idealist.Org, a site that lists a variety of internship opportunities with a bent towards social good, both stateside and abroad.

4. LEARN AND PERFECT A NEW PROFESSIONAL SKILL

Yes, you just finished years of schooling, but have you thought about something that you always wanted to learn but never had the time for?
BENEFITS: Enhance your professional prospects by being well-versed in a high demand skill, challenge your mind by learning something outside-of-the-box, apply your newly found talent.
WHERE TO BEGIN: If you are tight on cash or want to enhance a skill, check out the myriad of online courses out there, like computer coding or learning a new language. One great site to check out is Swapaskill, an online community of giving and sharing where people swap favors in turn for their skills for free.

Shoshana radiates doing good, driven by a love for people and community. Among many topics, she writes about friendship, creativity and healthy living.

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