Get VIP invites to recruiting events with popular employers! Sign up here.

MBA Corner
First Time on Brazen?

Spice Up Your Inbox!

Get invites to exclusive career events, networking opportunities and top career advice.



17 Hard Truths Every College Grad Must Understand

Pin It  

17 truths for graduates

It’s ONLY a selfie.

That’s the argument from graduating students at the University of South Florida. School officials at USF have asked grads to not snap selfies as they receive diplomas.

A quote from the Associated Press:

“I don’t have an anti-selfie bent,” said Michael Freeman, the USF dean who made the selfie rule. “I would just caution students to think there’s a time and place.”

A “time and place.” How true.

Graduation is one of the most formative times and places of our young adult lives. (Click here to tweet this thought.) Soon, you will dive into the chaotic job market and join the ranks of working adults.

This spring, forget about the pros and cons of selfies at the commencement ceremony. Look up from the camera, stick it in your pocket and understand once you cross the stage, life gets real.

Oh, and congrats on graduating.

17 Hard Truths Every College Grad Must Understand

1. A diploma does not guarantee an internship, job or career. It is merely a passport into the professional world. Now you’re in the jungle with the rest of us. May the best man 0r woman win.
2. To an employer, you look like every other recent grad who suddenly needs a full-time job. Unless, of course, your application promises to deliver exactly what the company needs —like this.

3. Your college coursework, difficult as it was, will never compete with someone’s real-world experience. You need skills ASAP even if they come from an internship or part-time situation. And never forget: a personal blog will make you instantly more marketable.

4. Expect to live frugally for a while. According to CNNMoney, average earnings for recent grads between the ages of 21 and 24 are around $16.99 or 8 percent lower than in 2007.

5. You finished four years of bloated, long-winded 12-page college essays. Unfortunately, the real world is busy and demands brevity. Remember: less is always more.

6. Your resume should be one page in length. Period. You don’t have enough experience to warrant two pages, much less three or four. Give employers the best one pager possible, and they will respect you for it.

7. There are three unemployed people for every job opening. It’s true. You’d better think creatively with your applications.

8. Order of importance on your resume: relevant skills, jobs/internships and then where you went to school. So stick education at the bottom and put “Skills” as close to the top as you can. Guarantee that’s the first place an employer looks.

9. “Your diploma is…permission to admit to yourself how much you still have yet to learn.” — Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson during the 2013 graduation at Rice University. Check out 15 more hard truths from last year’s commencement exercises.

10. Your first job won’t be your forever job. Don’t think too much about whether it’s the “perfect” situation. If your instincts say it’s a smart move, then go for it and don’t look back.

11. Google’s top HR person on job interviews: “What you want to do is say: ‘Here’s the attribute I’m going to demonstrate; here’s the story demonstrating it; here’s how that story demonstrated that attribute.’” TRUTH.

12. Forget texting. Forget Twitter. Forget email. Pick up the phone and call someone. That’s what adults do in the real world.

13. To land a job, you don’t need to live in one of America’s ten best cities for recent grads. You can create opportunity anywhere you set your two feet. Again, create opportunity. Don’t wait for good fortune to fall in your lap. It won’t.

14. According to USA TODAY, unemployment for 18 to 29 year olds is 15.8%, more than double the general rate. Want to stand out? Go beyond. After a job interview, send a hand-written thank-you note within 24 hours.

15. If you want people to take an interest in you, then you need to first take an interest in them — like this. [tweet the line]

16. With enough preparation, grit and confidence, you can land any entry-level position you want. Be proud of your degree, sure, but from here on out, success depends on you and not a piece of paper.

17. One more thing: “…trust me on the sunscreen.”

Danny Rubin is the creator and writer of News To Live By, a blog for Millennials that highlights the career advice and leadership lessons *hidden* in the day’s top stories. His columns have been featured on several blogs and news sites, including The New York Times and Business Insider.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    You’re right, diploma does not guarantee a successful career. Knowing that you have millions of competitors out there, you have to work hard and make an extra effort to land a job.

    • John

      My big question is what to do when there are several qualified applicants competing for the same job opp and they all have a good connection with an internal contact at the company? What can one do besides the constant networking with focus on relationship building, volunteering, career fairs, joining professional associations or learning from courses to land the job well?

      • Danny Rubin

        Be as prepared as possible for the interview, demonstrate you understand the company’s core challenges and leave as memorable an impression as you possibly can. Hard work DOES pay off…maybe not tomorrow but it will. It always does.

  • Ishan

    This point is really true – “A diploma does not guarantee an internship, job or career. It is merely a passport into the professional world.” I feel the same..and thus I dont study for Result

  • John

    How does one stand out when everyone else is as well? What to do when frustratingly one does all above well, networks immensely and tries to build relationships, currently volunteers with skills being built along with a minor part-time job and has few years of experience, but still hasn’t landed a the next paying job?

    • Danny Rubin

      Then you need to go further than you already have. There’s no ceiling.

  • http://www.privatejobalert.in/ Ashish

    According to USA TODAY, unemployment for 18 to 29 year olds is 15.8 percent, more than double the general rate. Want to stand out? Go beyond. After a job interview, send a hand-written thank-you note within 24 hours. LIC HFL Results 2014

  • https://www.facebook.com/quanaothethaogai Quần áo thể thao Nam Nữ

    Nice….

  • jrandom421

    16. You should have majored in engineering

  • http://www.idroidspace.com/ Sohil R. Memon

    It’s absolutely true man! Hotmail Login Signup

  • masiruj
  • sanju