Wednesday, May 11, 2016

So, What Are You Going to Do After You Graduate?

A fork in the roadWhat are you going to do after you graduate? It's the question many high school and college students dread. Everyone asks you: cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and, of course, parents. Thankfully, your library is here to help. From finding a job to finding yourself, the library has the tools you need to prepare for a bright future.

Graduating can be an intimidating prospect. For years your path was clear, advance from one grade to the next. But now you've graduated from high school or college and the path is no longer neatly laid out for you. There are countless paths you can take. MCPL has tools to help you determine a direction. We have many books on matching your personality with a career. One example is Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type. This book uses the Myers-Briggs personality test to help better understand your unique personality traits and match those to careers. A similar book is the well known What Color Is Your Parachute? It also has sections focused on better understanding yourself and matching that understanding to a career. In addition, it has chapters on more concrete skills such as job hunting, interviewing, and salary negotiation.

Book cover - Will College Pay OffIf you're moving on to college or graduate school, MCPL has all the usual books about colleges and majors. We also have test prep material for the SAT, ACT, GED, and AP exams. You can find similar college and test prep material, and so much more, online through our Testing and Education Reference Center. We also have books such Will College Pay Off?, which delve into the often overlooked costs, and benefits, of going to college.  If you're not sure if college is for you, but still want to improve your employment prospects, take a look at the  Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program. This program provides information on what types of apprenticeships are available and how to become an apprentice.

Once you've found yourself, you might want to find a job. You can start out with something basic, like Knock'em Dead: Secrets and Strategies for First-Time Job Seekers. It includes tips on networking, job searching, interviewing, and moving up. We also have books, like Resume 101: a Student and Recent Grade Guide to Crafting Resumes and Cover Letters that Land Jobs, focused on specific parts of a job search, such as writing resumes and acing interviews. Try Safari Books Online for recent, online books similar to print books but available 24/7!

Book cover - More Money PleaseAfter you land that job, you'll want to make sure you keep some of that hard earned money. Personal finance books like More Money Please: the Financial Secrets You Never Learned in School cover budgeting, credit cards, paying for college, and other topics you'd expect.  We also have somewhat less conventional personal finance books such as Worth It - Not Worth It? Simple and Profitable Answers to Life's Tough Questions that approach things differently, addressing questions like should I live at home or move out, and, should I get a job or see the world. Can't make it into the library? No worries. Safari Books Online has plenty of personal finance books too.

Of course, it's not all about money. There are those pesky life skills, from finding your first apartment and living with messy roommates to cooking dinner and balancing your checkbook.  Try The Real Simple Guide to Real Life for practical tips. If you're more interested in inspiration than instruction, you'll like I Just Graduated..Now What? which contains stories and experiences from Anderson Cooper, Eva Longoria and other well known figures.

Whatever path you take, MCPL is here to help you on your journey. And when you make it big, don't forget to mention the library in your success story!

Mark S

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