Things to do before you graduate

Journalists love lists and I’m no exception. So when I saw a list of 14 things to do before you graduate on SPJ’s First Draft blog, I had to share it here. We’ve said most of this before in the textbook and here on the blog, but it’s always useful to see tips like these all in one place. Even better when it’s in a list!

Here are the top four tips from Jennifer Nicole Sullivan:

1. Print business cards: Vistaprint offers nice and inexpensive cards. Include your website and Twitter handle (if appropriate).

2. Create a one-page resume: Nobody wants to read more than that! Check out “One-Page Resumes – 12 Edits to Make Everything Fit.”

3. Create an online portfolio: Include your best clips, multimedia samples, resume (sans address) and bio. Have an online presence. Check out “Portfolio Websites for Journalists: Where to Begin.”

4. Get active on LinkedIn: Keep up with contacts, peers and news sources. Make new connections. It’s your online Rolodex. You might even get a job through LinkedIn (I did!).

Good for her for taking advantage of LinkedIn–it’s a site that I find to be under-appreciated by most students but widely used by professionals.

Among Sullivan’s other suggestions are a few you’d better have acted on already if you happen to be a senior: Get several internships. Publish/broadcast as much as you can for professional outlets. Learn as much about technology as you possibly can. And finally, one tip that is absolutely essential:

13. Google yourself: What pops up? If it’s undesirable, fix it before future employers see it.

Don’t leave this step until the end. If you’ve been on Facebook since it opened up to high school students six years ago, you probably have a lot of history on the site. It may take more than a few hours to “fix,” so get cracking!