Tag Archives: recent grad

Business Card Giveaway!

29 Mar

There’s many ways to stay connected in our digital age- LinkedIn, Facebook, phone applications like Bump. However, when it comes to networking, nothing replaces a good ol’ business card. I feel like this is something every young person starting out in their career should have. Whether you’re interviewing, at an event or dating, having your contact info easily accessible is very useful.

The kind folks at Uprinting are giving away two sets of their awesome Die Cut business cards to two lucky readers. For a chance to win, leave a comment below with how you plan to use them. Two winners will be chosen at random Friday, April 1st. Details Below:

1.  2 readers will be getting a set (250pcs each) of Die Cut business cards (Rounded Corners, Leaf, Rounded Single-Corner, Half-Circle Side, Circle); 14pt Cardstock Gloss / Matte / High Gloss (UV), or 13pt Cardstock Uncoated on a 6 Business Days Turnaround; Front Only or Front and Back printing

2. Restriction: Limited to US residents 18 years old and above only.

Don’t forget to  Like UPrinting on Facebook and share the love with your friends! (http://www.facebook.com/uprinting)

[This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given. For more information about business cards, please visit http://www.uprinting.com/business-cards.html.]

Good luck!


MTV’s hired- A great show for recent grads (or anyone!)

27 Jul

Ok, so I think we can all agree that MTV isn’t known for having the most educational shows. (Jersey shore anyone?) While the history channel is the peas (depending on your nerd level), MTV is definitely the dessert, the guilty pleasure.

That’s why I was surprised to find “hired”, a show where they follow recent college graduates on interviews. They have a variety of fields- salons, makeup company, pr studios, ect. I found it really interesting to watch the people on their interviews, and listen to the interviewers critiques on their resumes and answers. It’s funny bc from an outside perspective it’s completely obvious who is right for it and who isn’t.

I wasn’t able to embed the video to this post, so follow this link to watch the episodes available online. It’s a great chance to see what hiring managers are looking for and talking about, behind the scenes.

PS- I love the question the tv company asked, “What tv character do you most identify with?” I’d love to ask this as a question for any interview!

Great Resource For College Students and Recent Grads

8 Jan


One of my favorite bloggers and career coaches, Lindsey Pollak, has joined ABC News On Campus to answer your career questions. Every month, she’ll be answering readers’ career related questions, on a variety of topics, from searching for a job in a new city to finding a job in these difficult times. It is an excellent resource not only for college students, but for recent graduates as well. I will definitely be checking in monthly for her advice. You can submit a question here, or read her first batch of answers.

What I Wish I Knew In College

6 Nov


Your grades do matter: Most companies won’t ask for your GPA (unless of course you’re applying for Google or Facebook). But if you eventually decide to go back to Grad School, that C- in statistics may come back to haunt you. 

Get Involved: Although clubs and volunteering may seem soo highschool, this will give you experience for your future career or improve your grad school application. What employer wouldn’t be impressed by the President of the Red Cross, or someone who was proactive enough to start their own club? It’s also a great way to meet new friends and help out your community.

Take classes that really interest you: It may be hard to imagine at the time, but after college, you’re going to really miss learning. There are so many more classes I wish I had taken for the sake of learning instead of just getting credit towards my degree. 

Choose a major that you love: You’ll find once you start interviewing, that most majors prepare you in someway for whatever job you are applying for. Instead of choosing a major because you think it will look better on paper, or impress an employer, choose a major that you are genuinely interested in. If your job requires a specific major, choose a fun minor. 

Get Experience: In college, I was pretty sure that when I graduated, employers would be sympathetic to my lack of experience. After all, I was a college student with little time to study for all of my classes let alone work! But I quickly found out that this was not so, and employers do expect you to have experience immediately after graduation.  Internships are the best way to get experience and have a job ready for you after graduation. Most internships are only offered for college credit, or are difficult to take after college when you need a steady income. Take advantage of the experience and networking which internships offer.

Watch your credit: Between parting, studying and going to the beach, the last thing on my mind in College was my credit score. However, after graduating and looking for houses, the late payments came back to haunt me. Every landlord does Credit checks, and it can be very difficult to get an apartment with a low credit score (especially if moving to a big city). No matter how busy you are, never neglect to check your bank account and avoid overdraft charges and late payments.

Care About Politics: It wasn’t until I graduated and moved to San Francisco, that I really started caring about who I voted for and the propositions. However, after seeing the huge impact the youth vote had on this election, it is extremely important to start caring as soon as you can vote. The elections impact college students tremendously from college loans, parental notification for abortions, military service and community college board members. 

Limit Your Alcohol Consumption: Although you may have the mentality that you won’t drink like you do after college, the effects from binge drinking can last a lifetime. Over-drinking can lead to poor decisions and regrets that will last long after college. Have fun and enjoy a drink or two, but don’t start poor drinking habits that will carry with you after. 

Cherish Your Friendships: After college, it’s hard to stay in touch with friends. You move back home to different states and countries, and have different schedules that make it hard to stay connected. Spend as much time as you can with your friends, before they are a plane ride, or time zone away. 

It’s okay to move home after Graduation: In college, I couldn’t imagine how or why anyone would move back home with their parents after living independently for four years. All I could think of was the image of Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers screaming “Mom, the Meatloaf!” Little did I know, that I would be moving home after Graduation, along with 95 percent my friends. Most people don’t have the money or career immediately after graduating to move straight into their own apartment. Moving home temporarily is a great way to acclimate to your new lifestyle and save money while finding a job. 

Practice Good Habits: Without Mom there to scream at you, it’s tempting not to leave your room in shambles, drink straight from the Milk Carton, and sleep until noon. However, the habits you practice during college, will carry with you after you graduate. Cleaning, taking care of your health and practicing a regular sleep schedule will start to come naturally if you do these things regularly (and make you a better roommate).

Enjoy every minute of it: As Tom Petty said, “Work never ends but college does.” While college may be a blast, you never really appreciate it until you start your 9-5 job and feel guilty staying out past 11pm. Savor the ability to sleep in on a Wednesday, or go drinking with friends on a Tuesday, because you’ll miss it later. I know I do!

What do you wish you knew in college?

Q&A With a Young Graphic Design Professional

22 Oct

I’m always intrigued with what recent grads like myself are doing- how long it took them to find a job, how they like their first job after college, tips for saving etc. Working at a design firm, I’m very impressed by the graphic designers that I work with and interested in how they became involved in graphic design (besides their innate creativity gene that I apparently was not born with). Their fantastic work is everywhere, from magazines, to advertisements, product packaging and web design. Eager to learn more, we sat down with our good friend Lindsay, who graduated in 2008 from Chico State University and is working as a graphic designer. 

Madgrad: What is your current position?

Lindsay: Junior Graphic designer at a large Design Company. It is my first job since graduation, and I’ve been there about 7 months. 

Madgrad: How did you find this job?

Lindsay:  I knew I wanted to work in the Bay area, so I looked up companies that I wanted to work for in this area and then contacted them directly. I think this was the best way, because I knew the company I was applying for and could tailor my resume, which often isn’t the case on Craigslist. I do know lots of people that have found jobs through Craigslist though, so I wouldn’t overlook it as a resource.

Madgrad: Why Graphic design?

Lindsay: As my fellow classmates voted me “most likely to be found in photography” I knew I had to do something with art, but I still wanted a BA. A teacher told me I’d like graphic design, so I thought I’d declare it as my major and try it out. I figured I’d change it a few times like everyone else does, but ended up loving it!

Madgrad:  Did you find a job right out of college? How long did it take? 

Lindsay: No, I did some freelance work while interviewing for permanent positions. It took me about a month and a half to find the right job.

Madgrad: Seems like you lucked out with the Job search! Did any former jobs, internships or classes prepare you for this position and help you get it?

Lindsay:  YES! I had two internships in college. One through the school and one I found on my own. I also took a really helpful class where you prepare your portfolio as well as run though practice interviews, presentations and critiques. 

Madgrad:  What do you most enjoy about being a graphic designer?

Lindsay: I get to be creative every day! Depending on the projects, I will usually get to do something new and different each day. 

Madgrad:  What’s the most challenging part of your work?

Lindsay:  Hands Down-the client. Normally a client will ask for something and you will provide them with options based on their visions. But I would say 9 out of 10 times they don’t choose the option you like the best. So sometimes you have to toss your best ideas to please a client. 

Madgrad: If you had one piece of advice to give to recent graduates looking to enter the design field, what would it be?

Lindsay:  Work on your portfolio! If you are able to get a version online always do that too. And once you have a job, always be updating your portfolio anyways. Eventually you will have to replace all your school projects with actual printed work. This is something I just realized I should be doing.

Madgrad: Living on an entry-level salary can be tough. Any advice you’d give to recent grads in similiar positions?

Lindsay: I lived at home for 6 months after college. This was the best thing I’ve done because I saved a lot of money and now actually have money to spend living in the city I recently moved to. Instead of spending money on rent every month, I was able to put that into savings. It definitely was hard at times, but it allowed me to focus on my work and now have money to spend going to dinner, shopping, and going out to meet new people. Oh, and I also recommend shopping at H&M and Forever 21 for work clothes- they’re cute without a hefty price tag. 

Thanks Lindsay! If you have any questions for her on how to start your career in graphic design, email us at themadgrad@gmail.com 

10 Tips to Stay Focused at Work

21 Aug

This blog is proof that I can get very distracted at work! It’s almost like I have a deal with myself that for every ten emails I write, or every project schedule I send out, that I can check PerezHilton, CNN, Talk Soup blog or Gchat with friends. But the problem with this, is once I start its hard to stop! It’s like the candy bowl by my desk, once I get a taste I can’t help going back for more. Here’s some tips I have that have helped me to stay focus and be more proactive during the work day:

1. Make a list of tasks for the day: Keep this next to you at all times, whether its on a bulletin board, notepad or a post it. A great tool is the Sticky application on mac computers. They decorate your screen with bright colors, are hard to miss and don’t end up cluttering the floor. My personal favorite is keeping a legal pad by my desk. In the morning I write all of my tasks, and it also is conveniently there when my boss gives me an important task to jot down.

2. Turn off Gchat, Aim and all other chatting services on your computer. They are a constant temptation and distract you from your work. Once Suzie starts telling you about her breakup, its going to be hard to break away from the convo to do some work.

3. Keep your desk and computer desktop clean at all times. You’ve heard it said many times before that a cluttered life is a cluttered mind. You will easily be able to access anything your boss or clients request instead of digging frustratingly through piles. And it’s a reflection of you, and who doesn’t want to be seen as organized and prepared?

4. Listen to Music: Music is a great way of keeping you entertained and settled into your work routine. It also drowns out distracting noises such as other people on the phone, printers, faxes and chatter. Be sure to make sure they are at a reasonable level and can’t be heard by other people on the office. 

5. Don’t procrastinate: If you do things right away instead of putting them off until later, you will not only produce better work, but prevent yourself from doing other distracting things to avoid doing the assisnment.

6. Wake up Earlier: Instead of blogging, reading other blogs and checking the latest political, world and entertainment news at work, do this before work in the morning. Wake up an hour earlier, and enjoy a nice cup of coffee while you write your blog and read the news. 

7. Take Breaks: I know it can be tempting to impress your boss and work through lunch and breaks to get a lot done. However, if you sit too long at your desk staring at your computer screen, you will get so bored that you will not want to do work at all. Make sure to take little breaks throughout the day, get some fresh air, get a drink and walk around. Try to eat away from your desk, even if it is in the break room.

8. Write your tasks for the day the night before: When you are intently watching the clock for the 10 minutes to pass before you have to leave, write down your priorities and goals for the next day. That way you will be productive from the moment you walk into work the next day and know exactly what to focus on. 

9. Stick to a routine: While all of us have different schedules, most of us have tasks that need to be done everyday. For example, everyday I need to  check and respond to email, check-in with clients, update the overall project schedule, and send email reminders to coworkers. Setting up a specific time each day to do all of these recurring tasks, turns it into a habit. 

10. Set up appointments on the calendar to speak with coworkers and clients: Instead of heading over to your coworkers desk and interrupting their work, schedule a specific time ahead of time to meet with them. Putting this into your calendar, will make sure you don’t forget and they have time to really think about what you are asking them. They will do the same for you and you will no longer have people coming to your desk to ask questions throughout the day and disrupting your focus.

Treating and Preventing the Dreaded Work Hangover

11 Jul

In college, pretty much every night was a celebration. There was Taco Tuesdays, Wacky Wednesdays, Thursday college specials Downtown, and keggers on the weekends (can’t exclude Sunday Fun-day). Now that you are thrown into the real world and have 9-5 jobs it’s hard to turn off this party mentality. Especially if you move to a new city and are going out to meet new people and take your mind off of work and how much you miss college. 

Drinking during the weekdays may seem doable for you- that is until you experience your first hangover at work. You meet some new people for cocktails at a fun new restaurant at a city and start with a nice glass of wine. However the wine decides it wants another glass of wine.. and then the two gang up and decide they want a cocktail.. and the next day you wake up very confused with a tattooed arm from the bar stamps, a scratchy voice from singing Journey, and an episode of Fragile Rock taking place in your head. A year or two ago you would have just skipped class, but workdays are like finals- if you miss it you fail the class, (aka your fired). If you do make it,  your concentration, performance and communication with clients and coworkers inevitably suffers. Here’s some tips we’ve learned here at the Mad Grad that while not scientifically proven, allows you to have a geat time at Trivia night while avoiding being demoted to the basement with Milton the next day:

Limit yourself to one drink an hour. Seriously. Alcohol tends to get bossy after a couple of drinks, so don’t let it takeover. Instead of focusing on the drink, focus on conversing with friends and take small sips.

Hit up the happy hours: Whoever invented these must have experienced a hangover at work and realized if they start drinking earlier than they do on a weekend, they can go home earlier and be more rested for work the next day. (They also must have been living on an entry-level salary and found tremendous joy in 2 dollar specials)

Stay hydrated: If you feel yourself getting a little drunk, have some water. Have water before you go to sleep, and the next day when you wake up. It might sound excessive but it will save you from a monster headache the next day. 

Eat Something: We all know what happens when you skip dinner and race to the bars to meet a friend: you feel like a 80 pound girl, getting wasted after 2 drinks. Before drinking have carbs, fats or sugars which slow the absorption of alcohol. 

I’m hungover, now what?: If you are still drunk, do not go into the office. Take the sick day. If you go in, have a huge glass of orange juice (vitamin C helps speed up the metabolism of alcohol), a big breakfast with protein and carbohydrates, drink water like its in your job description, have a multi vitamin (with B vitamins), have a banana, and avoid coffee which further dehydrates you. If you by some miracle wake up in time to shower, high five your alarm clock, as this will wake you up and wash away the lingering alcohol and smoke smell. If you don’t have time for this, wash your face with cold water and use some cover up under your eyes. In this scenario honesty is not the best policy- bosses have a lot more sympathy for pneumonia, flu and food poisoning than they do for too much Jack Daniels. Make yourself look as great on the outside as possible and if all else fails.. blame it on last night’s sushi dinner.

When Choosing a job… Follow your Instincts!

7 Jul

How many of you have heard something like this before:

“You’re so good with children, you should be a teacher!”

“I can really see you going into sales, you are just so outgoing!”

The truth? Just because you love children, doesn’t mean you want to pursue a career as a teacher, and there’s more to sales than having an outgoing personality. As we graduate and face so much uncertainty and opportunity we are told to take advice from as many people as possible. We are like two year olds again.. sponges absorbing information from people eager to impart their wisdom and life experiences on us (guilty) However, when is it okay to throw the bottle.. get up and walk on our own??

Advice is great to an extent- it is always helpful to hear from friends, family members and others who have been where we have and know what it’s like to struggle with finances, jobs and housing. However, when it comes to your career- only YOU know what is best for you. If friends and family see you in a career that is making you outwardly stressed, sick and a mess then it is okay for them to step in and suggest a career change. In the end, you are the one that will be on the computer all day, in front of the classroom, speaking to clients, traveling to meetings, or writing your column. So when it comes down to deciding what you want to do, sit down by yourself and instead of thinking what others want you to do or what looks good on paper, think what you would absolutely LOVE to do at work everyday. 

As Dr Seuss put it… “YOU have brains in your head. YOU have feet in your shoes. YOU can steer yourself in any direction YOU choose!”