College to Career: A Soon-to-be-Grad’s Perspective

Transitioning from a college atmosphere to a steady career feels like being blindfolded and thrown off a cliff. You aren’t really sure where you’re going, but you’re going. You don’t have a choice and you don’t usually have a plan. It just happens.

Most people would believe that four years of college is the exact amount of time needed to earn a degree and kickstart one’s professional life. However, The New York Times states that, “At most public universities, only 19 percent of full-time students earn a bachelor’s degree in four years. Even at state flagship universities — selective, research-intensive institutions — only 36 percent of full-time students complete their bachelor’s degree on time”. To me, it seems as if students spend more time trying to figure out their future than completing the course work that will actually get them there. Then, after students do choose the field of study they’d like to make a profession, they’re thrown into an even harder task; finding a job.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 20.2 million students attended an American college or university in the 2015 fall semester. That means, at least 4 million students will graduate this year and try to enter the workforce. Of those 4 million, only 14% of those students will obtain a steady, career-like job immediately after graduation.

Finding a job post-graduation is difficult, but moving from one environment to the next can be the real struggle. One of the tallest hurdles tends to be adapting to a new schedule. Many students are able to create their own class schedule, picking and choosing the times that lend to becoming their most productive selfs. While it can certainly be helpful, this practice also creates the bad habit of going by your own schedule only, and avoiding early hours. As a result, jumping from the life a night owl into a 9-5 job can be a challenge. The Huffington Post suggests that soon-to-be-graduates wean out partying in the week, to help begin to adjust to more appropriate hours, and improve overall health. My suggestion: skip the twisted Tuesday and only go to thirsty Thursday every other week. By slowing down a bit, you’ll create a sense of consistency focus on future goals.

Personally, I think a major problem that college students face when entering postgrad life is the separation anxiety of leaving friends. When you start college, it’s your first step into any legitimate responsibility. Therefore, over the duration of time you spend in school, your peers become a kind of support system to depend on. When that support system is taken away, it can be difficult to figure out what to do in stressful moments, especially when you feel that you’re on your own again. When a new job becomes demanding or asks a difficult task, it can be hard to figure out what to do by yourself. I suggest you put the phone down and log off social media sites for a bit. Start spending a little time with yourself and create a sense of personal confidence. If you have confidence in yourself, you’re much more likely to be able to face any situation thrown your way, instead of just panicking. I’m not saying to abandon all of your relationships; just cherish them while learning to walk on your own.

Optimized-DU0O1PCIMHWhen it does come to landing that first job after graduation, students should stop putting so much emphasis on the idea that the only job for a recent graduate is “entry level.” While it is indeed entry level, truthfully, the connotation can feel quite negative. But why? All soon-to-be-graduates are seniors, and naturally they have a sense of seniority. They’ve spent the last four or five years working up from the ground level of freshman status, and there’s a lot of self gratitude that comes from that. It can be difficult to accept the fact that you’ll be starting from the bottom once again. So remember, as you approach your graduation date, no job offer is beneath you; it’s just a new starting place.

Time matters, your appearance matters and your behavior is crucial! I think it’s fair to assume that almost every student has walked into class while wearing sweats or fighting last night’s hangover. The professor will usually give an awkward smile and that’s that. But, that can’t happen in the real world. Understanding how to conduct yourself in front of fellow employees or managers is essential to keeping your job. Unfortunately, a lot students can’t bridge the ideology that they’re the ones paying to be in school, while in the workforce, the business pays you. It’s simple. If they like you, they pay you. If they don’t, you’re gone. Understanding that there will be new responsibilities and added expectations once you leave college is absolutely necessary for success.

Sure, college can be extremely stressful, but pushing yourself to make the most of your years in preparation for the next chapter of your life can be incredibly rewarding. For example:

In 2013, median earnings for full-time year-round working young adults, aged 25–34 with a bachelor’s degree, were $48,500, while the median was $23,900 for those without a high school diploma or its equivalent, $30,000 for those with a high school diploma or its equivalent, and $37,500 for those with an associate’s degree. In other words, young adults with a bachelor’s degree earned more than twice as much as those without a high school diploma or its equivalent (103 percent more) and 62 percent more than young adult high school graduates (NCES).

Transitioning into any new environment is difficult. But, when you can expect specific changes to take place, you can start to prepare for the future. Starting from the bottom once again can be all that’s needed to initiate the momentum to carry you to top of your industry. Understanding the stress of moving from college to a career, and finding ways to over come that stress, can be the perfect start to kickstart a successful future.

Launched: John G. Ullman & Associates

Last month, CreAgent Marketing launched a new mobile-responsive website for John G. Ullman & Associates, a wealth management firm in Corning, NY. The project required a complete overhaul of the existing site as we incorporated new colors, fresh images, and even an enhanced logo at the request of the client.

Below is a screen shot of the old website:

John G. Ullman old website

After several months working with the team at John G. Ullman & Associates, we were able to meet their needs with a more contemporary look that is compatible across all devices and feels accessible for all audiences.

Below is a screen shot of the new website:

John G. Ullman New Website Designed by CreAgent Marketing

To see their full site, visit

Instagram: Simple Tips To Remember When Getting Started

Instagram is a great tool for businesses. As today’s consumers become more and more visually minded, it’s a social media channel that could take a brand to the next level. Part of its influence stems from the sheer number of active users: more than 1 billion people worldwide and roughly 120 million monthly users in the US, alone. Unlike Facebook, which uses obscure and ever-changing algorithms to determine who will and will not see your posts, if someone follows you on Instagram, the chance of that person seeing your content is significantly higher. Instagram’s Search & Explore feature makes it easier for people to find interesting content from all over the world—by location, tag, photographer or subject matter. Posting the right kind of content could increase your engagement and brand influence tenfold.

But that’s just it: you need to post the right content. Instagram success could be yours, if you take the initiative to avoid the missteps and shortcomings in the following list that often prevent brands from reaching their fullest potential.

Post Your Website Link In Your Bio

This is the one thing that should be stressed over and over again. Your profile’s bio is the only place, on all of Instagram, where you can add a clickable link to your website. Unfortunately, many accounts still neglect to do so, missing huge opportunities to build brand awareness and engage a potential customer base further.

Post High-Quality Images

This one’s simple, really. Instagram is a visual tool, so posting unattractive or boring photos will not create the kind of engagement that really drives brand success. In fact, doing so is more likely to deter new followers and scare away the ones that you do have. Now, that doesn’t mean that every photo you upload needs to be taken with a DSLR. As Instagram is primarily a mobile tool, it’s understood (and encouraged!) that the majority of photos will be taken and uploaded with a smartphone. However, some simple photography principles and the countless editing/photography apps available for most iOS and Android devices mean there’s no excuse for lackluster images. We recommend using  VSCOcam to elevate your mobile photography.

Don’t Misuse Hashtags

Over 91% of all images posted on Instagram contain one or more hashtags. The main function of a hashtag is to open content up for discovery, by allowing others to find images and other users of interest, via relevant keywords. If you fail to use a hashtag or two that could be relevant to your brand’s content, you miss an opportunity to be discovered and engaged with. But on the flip side, if you spam your posts with too many irrelevant hashtags, you devalue your account and run the risk of losing brand credibility.

It can all be a little confusing, so check out this great Hootsuite post if you still need help understanding hashtags.

Engage With Others

Instagram is a great social media platform and it’s cultivated a fiercely loyal community of users who want to interact with relevant content. To get the most out of this interaction, you can’t just treat your account as some kind of “set it and forget it” tool. If you want to become a leader in your brand’s industry, follow other relevant users within that industry and engage with them. Don’t go on liking sprees, which can come off as desperate, but definitely like and comment on their photos when appropriate. Doing this, and doing it authentically, will associate your brand with theirs and do more to position your brand as an industry influencer. Likewise, if somebody leaves a comment on one of your photos, take the time to respond. It takes five seconds. Building a successful brand has a lot to do with building meaningful relationships with your consumers, so it would make the most sense to actually take part in conversations with your Instagram community.

If you’d like to see some small businesses who have taken their brands’ to the next level by doing all of the above, and doing it really well, check out 33 Acres Brewing Company, Brunette Wine Bar or Glen Edith Coffee.