One of the biggest threats to you reaching your career goals is peer pressure, so you have to learn how to navigate it right now so it doesn’t derail your career. This is true no matter where you are on your career path, but if you’re still in college, you need to figure out how to quell your desire for peer acceptance right now.

When you’re in college, your focus should be on earning decent grades, finding the right internships, networking, running a side hustle, or otherwise setting yourself up for career success after you graduate. Your eye should be on the prize and not on becoming the campus-wide beer pong champion.

At the very least, don’t fall into these peer pressure, career-derailing traps while in college:

Cutting class

We all have that one friend that loves to cut class. They always have something fun and exciting to do that’s a lot more tantalizing than sitting in class listening to another boring lecture. Unfortunately, cutting class is one of the biggest mistakes college freshmen make and it’s not just freshmen who make this bad decision. In your senior year, where you should be focused entirely on networking and making sure you have a job when you graduate, a lot of college students ditch class for dumb reasons.

When you feel the urge to cut class, remember that classes are temporary. You’ll soon graduate and never have to worry about grades or lectures again. Live in the moment that you’ve crafted for career success and get to class.

Rock ‘n Roll All Night, and Party Every Day

Don’t fall into the party trap. We get it—you are surrounded by parties in college, especially on the weekends. It’s fine to let loose once in awhile, but beware your lowered inhibitions while drinking. Your friends might convince you to do some very stupid things, like drinking and driving. Before you know it, you’re facing a DUI charge, and having to hire a defense attorney like those found at martinandkent.com to fight your corner.

Instead, when friends are pressuring you to party when you really should be studying, interning, networking, and planning for your career, just say “no.” You likely won’t remember the party later anyway, so you’re not missing out on as much as you think.

Breaking the Rules

Navigating your career will mean sometimes playing by the rules and other times breaking every single rule to disrupt an industry. Knowing when to break the rules comes with maturity, bravery, and clear vision.

However, breaking rules while in college can get you expelled, which is super tough to explain to an employer. We get it—your dorm mate snuck in a hot plate, or wants to sneak in boys after curfew. As you can see from www.noodle.com, overnight visitors are usually a no-go. They can get you kicked out of the dorm, and possibly the entire university.

The point is, if you’re in college, now is the time to learn to say “no” when peers ask you to do things you know are wrong. In the real world, you will be asked to do things you know are wrong, too. Learn to say “no” early so you have a solid career later!

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If you’ve just graduated college, you may not be prepared for the cold, harsh reality that adulting is hard. The real world can be discouraging, and in our current political climate, it can be downright depressing. But no matter how much rejection you face, you still have to pull up your big girl (or boy) shorts and take action. You have to find a job.

You have to strategize to find the job you want. You can’t just fill out a bunch of online applications and assume you’re going to find a job. You might just out of sheer chance, but when you leave your career to chance, you usually end up in a crappy job you hate. There are better ways.

1. Visit Your College’s Career Advisors

Most colleges have an office dedicated to helping students and alumni find jobs. It might be called a “career center” or “alumni services.” If you’re not sure where to find it, ask the receptionist at your former school.

It’s in your former college’s best interest to help you find a job because the US Department of Education keeps track of information regarding how many graduates have jobs, both in and out of their degree industry. Your employability should be a priority to your former college, because if you have their shiny degree and can’t get a job, they look bad.

Your college’s career advisors usually have a list of employers looking to hire graduates. Some advisors can help with your resume and cover letter too, but in our experience, their advice is usually outdated on those particular topics. Some career offices have a closet of professional attire for interviews—just ask!

2. Don’t Take a Gap Year Before Getting a Job

As you’re leaving school or college, your focus should be on getting a job. Taking a “gap year” before getting a job is an immature idea that won’t impress employers. You (or your parents) have spent a lot of money on your college education. The least you can do is put your degree to work. Be a grownup and get a job.

When your job search isn’t going your way, it can be tempting to just give up. Unfortunately, life doesn’t let you just give up. You have to find a job, so don’t stop trying until you have one!

3. Find a Coach

If you’re waiting for the job fairy to show up and hand you your first job, it’s time you find a career coach. If you’re stuck in your career in any way, a career coach can help you set goals and clearly see the steps to reaching them. Jarell and I offer career-coaching services via phone, online, and even in person if you live in the Orlando or Tampa area.

4. Redo Your Resume

One of the easiest things you can do to make meaningful change in your job search is to do something different with your resume. Improve your action verbs. Ditch your objective. Create a professional profile. Add skills. Change the format. Make a video resume. Keep playing with it until you find a winner!

Remember that you should alter your resume for each job advertisement you answer. Look for keywords and key skills that the employer wants and make sure your resume includes them.

5. Do Something to Gain Experience While You’re Looking for a Job

f you didn’t intern while in college, your lack of experience may be holding you back from finding a job. That doesn’t mean you stop looking for a job, but it does mean you should do something to fill that experience gap.

The first thing you should consider is taking an externship or fellowship, but if you can’t find one of those, volunteer. Find a company you admire, and offer to work for free. The worst they can say is “no.”

You can also start a side hustle. Employers will be impressed at your entrepreneurial spirit, and your parents will be impressed that you’re making money all on your own. Running your own side business gives you skills that you can take into any job field; plus, it gives you something to talk about in your cover letters and interviews.

Bonus Idea

Check out the Transitioning from College to Career: A Guide for New Grads for great tips and advice for finding a job, acing interviews, and figuring out life in general after college. 

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Keep Looking

No matter what, don’t give up on your job search. Keep looking for new ideas. Connect with as many people as you can both on LinkedIN and in person. Go to job fairs. Talk to recruiters. Network with your classmates and former professors. If you don’t have a job, your job is finding a job so get to it!

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Congratulations! You’ve graduated college. Your long journey from home education or public school drama to learn-who-you-are college life is complete. Next step: the real world.

You have a lot on your mind right now. You have to frame your diploma, open your graduation gifts, and wash a semester’s worth of laundry. Sooner or later, though, you are going to have to face the fact that you’re not going back to school in the fall, and it’s time to grow up and start adulting. Are you ready?

You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed, so we’re going to keep this short and easy for you. Here are four small steps you should take right now to start crafting your adult life successfully:

1. Get Your Money In Order

The moment you stepped out of the grand doors of your college institution, your financial circumstances changed drastically. You don’t have a lovely financial aid check coming each semester. Your parents aren’t going to pay your bills any more. If you’re like most college graduates, you now have a student loan to pay. It’s a big smack in the face—you need to take a harsh look at your money situation.

To help with the student loan saga, visit studentloansconsolidation.co to learn how to make it easier to swallow. Believe it or not, there are all sorts of income-sensitive plans for paying back your loans. Your loan officer won’t do this automatically, though. You have to fill out the proper paper work and ask for it.

You should also sit down and create a budget. Figure out what, realistically, you can spend each month on necessities and luxuries. Necessities include food, transportation, and a place to live. Everything else is a luxury.

2. Find a Real Job

Your shiny new degree has a purpose—to help you find a job. It’s the key to unlock jobs that require a college degree. You’ve worked hard to earn it, but now it’s time to let it serve its purpose.

So, you need a resume that shows that you’re more than just that shiny new degree. A creative copywriter can help you spruce up your resume and tell your story in a way that employers see you as the perfect person for the job. You should also tidy up your LinkedIN profile and take a good long look at your social media profiles to make sure you look squeaky clean online for employers. A lot of them will Google you before an interview, so make sure they find exactly what you want them to find.

You also need to prepare for job interviews. Find two outfits you can wear to interviews that are completely professional and make sure they are always clean and pressed, waiting for you to land an interview. You should practice how you will answer common job interview questions, like “tell me about yourself” and “describe a situation where you solved a problem.”

Of course, you also have to actually apply for jobs. Set weekly goals for the number of job applications you will complete, and keep a log of where and when you applied. The log will help you send follow up emails, and it also shows you and your parents the amount of effort you’re putting into your job search.

3. Gain More Skills

Just because you’re done with college doesn’t mean you’re done learning. While you’re job hunting, work on acquiring more skills for your resume, and bonus points if those skills are directly related to your industry. You can learn anything technology-related on the internet, so there’s no excuse not to learn a coding language like HTML or software used everywhere, like Adobe Acrobat.

At the very least, find a course in leadership, management, or marketing. No matter what your industry, eventually you will want to lead something, and learning to market products also helps you learn to market yourself.

The point is, you should never stop learning. The world changes rapidly, and you should be able to change right along with it.

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4. Make a Lifestyle Design Plan

While you’re focusing on finding a job and figuring out how to pay your bills, it’s important that you think about the kind of future you want. You need a clear idea of what you want from your personal life so that you can stay focused on achieving it.

Many people want a family, but there’s no rush for that. Make a list of goals for things you want to do and what your ideal life would look like. Maybe you want to travel the world, or achieve a fitness goal. Maybe you want to meet new friends or stay connected to old ones. Maybe you want a house at the beach or a cabin in the mountains. Making a list, or at least a Pinterest board will help you remember what it is you really want out of life. It will remind you why you’re working so very hard.

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