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  • Curb Your Graduation Anxiety and Profit From Harnessing It!

    Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.

    T. S. Eliot

    College seniors are getting the jitters and find the last year of their college days filled with anxiety and fear about what’s next?  They know of friends a year ahead of them who have “made it’” as well as other friends who have moved back home.  The security and prestige they felt several years ago upon receiving admittance to a reputable school is beginning to seem less important as the realities are setting in about entering a tough job market.  Those who have majored in the engineering, finance, accounting and computer science who have practical skills to leverage for a job may feel less anxious than their classmates who majored in less “practical” subjects.  But in general there is a lot of insecurity in the air now that this protected life in the college bubble is about to end.

    Try to figure out what part of the situation is under your control. Next, come up with a plan that tackles the part of the problem that is under your control. Taking action to protect yourself is a good way to channel nervous energy and provides reassurance against your fears. It is, in most cases, the healthiest response to realistic fears and worries.

    There are two ways of coping with the high anxiety of senior year;

    Path #1: Consider Your Anxiety a Natural and Reasonable Response to a big Transition: When anxiety mounts you can become paralyzed by it or worse become like a rocket that uses the energy to implode rather than to take off! Don’t allow your emotions to sabotage your success by letting it erode your self –esteem.

    Path #2:  Channel Your Anxiety into Action:  This proactive strategy for managing anxiety typically leads to a more successful outcome:

    Breaking down the “tasks” of what you need to do into daily assignments will surprisingly minimize your anxiety.  Channeling the negative energy created from fear and anxiety and turning it into action is the fuel that launches a successful career.  The same energy, if not redirected towards positive actions can cause the opposite reaction…pushing one to implode!  This is completely avoidable if you choose to harness your anxiety and use it as fuel for moving forward.

    11 tasks to get you started in the right direction to becoming a proactive pre-graduate:  Check Off One Task at a Time:

    1. Recommendations from professors
    2. Recommendations from peers
    3. Complete profile on LinkedIn
    4. Join Groups on LinkedIn related to your Alumni association and field of interest
    5. Connect with friends who have jobs and recently graduated
    6. Ask for help getting an interview in their firm
    7. Qualify the skills and value you can contribute to the firm
    8. Prepare to add more skills if necessary (e.g. take more computer classes or additional coursework over the summer that could enhance/broaden your skill set)
    9. Become an expert about the firms you’re seeking employment
    10.  Develop a compelling case highlighting your unique value that’s specifically tailored to each firm.
    11. Create multiple resumes tied to specific jobs that will grab the hiring manager’s attention and say this is why you should hire me!!!
    Once you have done all you can to tackle the next step, let go and remember…you’re only in control of your effort, not the results!  Now its time to breathe, take a leisurely walk in the park, go to the gym or read a good novel.  Focus on appreciating the lessons you learn from your journey and the whole process of pursuing your career will become a growthful experience!


    Beth is Founder and President of Get Hired, LLC.  She advises students on how to bridge the gap from school to career.  Beth is the co-author of From Diploma to Dream Job: Five Overlooked Steps to a Successful Career. Her coaching assists students and career changers to successfully match their needs, interests, passions, skills, and personal goals with the needs of a sustainable industry in a sustainable location.  She is a resource for print and online media and offers workshops for University Career Service Departments, Executive Recruiters, Outplacement Services, College Guidance Counselors and College Alumni Associations. See website for more details about Beth’s services www.fromdiploma2dreamjob.com. Beth’s Webinar was sponsored by George Washington University’s Career Services Dept. for their worldwide alumni association: Leverage Your College Diploma. You can follow Beth on twitter @BethKuhel

    Beth Kuhel, M.B.A., C.E.I.P., Executive Leadership and Career transition coach, writes about leadership strategies, career advancement and improving the workplace for Forbes, Huffington Post, Personal Branding blog and has been featured in Business Insider, Entrepreneur magazine, Tiny Pulse, U.S. News & World Report. Beth’s weekly career CJN career column was sponsored by Weatherhead School of Management.

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