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Hey Loves! I’m Caitlyn the girl behind ChemGradBoom. A blog about taking life with a little salt, a slice of lime and shot of tequila or life of a graduate student, whichever version you prefer!

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

College Advice: Things to do before you graduate

Who doesn't love the idea of being done with college? I know I hate it, but it is still an exciting time! Walking across the stage, getting your diploma, and the idea of being done with Finals forever is possibly the best.

I am here to give some advice on how to spend the last few (most likely 2 months or less) of college and what to do before you walk the stage!

    • Avoid having to do this later or needing one ASAP for a job/ internship/post grad degree -- just have a few somewhere that you can get to them if required that doesn't require going through your University. 
  2. UPDATE YOUR RESUME and have someone (or multiple people) read it. Let a professor, career advisor or mentor check it! 
  3. While you are prepping your resume - create a few versions of Cover Letters for jobs and again get someone to check it! 
  4. Speaking of professors, ask a few if they would be ok as a future reference and grab their contact details. 
  5. Take advantage of you STUDENT DISCOUNTS. Want a new computer, most companies give fantastic student discounts - so buy what you need before you have to pay full price!
  6. Take in all the FREE ACTIVITIES AT UNI. Yes, there are still classes and finals to deal with, but while your still a student enjoy what your university has to offer! Spring activities at my undergrad ranged from free concerts, free food, and Etiquette Dinners (useful for the job hunt)
  7. DO SOMETHING YOU WOULDNT USUALLY DO. Now I am not talking about anything insane and illegal - just have fun. Mine included a night breaking into (hopping over the fence) at the pool on campus and going for a midnight swim! Nothing major but a memory I will always remember. 
  8. INVEST IN YOURSELF AND FUTURE. You are about to head away from your world for the last four years and head off to another chapter of your life. When you head out into the 'real world' you will be on the job hunt, work from 9-5, and no longer have a Fall/ Spring / Summer break. 
    • Go out and buy a professional/semi- professional wardrobe
    • Invest in a quality Interview outfit & bag
    • Pamper yourself for a day
  9. Go through and figure out what you need to keep/ get rid of. I kept a lot of my coursework from my degree and I was headed off to grad school. Even if you aren't headed off to more school, maybe keep a project sample or writing sample in case it's needed. 
  10. ENJOY IT ALL - your time in college, your friends, your roommates and your college campus. Sure you will head back / keep in contact with some people but it's absolutely insane how amazing college life is while your there. 

Congrats to all you future grads and live it up these last few months :)

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

5 Things to Prepare for Applications

I would like to think that I am pretty well-versed when it comes to applications. I have had my fair share of applying for schools, fellowships, jobs and grants. Which after all of those applications there are a few things that you can do NOW to make your life easier when you prepare to apply for anything.

So here is another edition of my College Advice, even though this is life advice in general or at least life advice when you're looking for a job.

  1. Have your Resume up-to-date and have people (yes, plural not a person) review it. Having an up-to-date resume will save you time/stress for those moments when you have a short time frame before closing dates on things. It is so helpful for me to have my resume that has been reviewed/corrected/re-reviewed on hand for the instances when a new job opening comes up (early bird gets the 'job'?) or when I find a fellowship with a closing date in a few days. Being prepared and ready for such an important document such as your resume is step one in getting a job/grant/fellowship/whatever you're applying for.

  2. Have a list of people that you know would recommend you for positions aka your make a PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES LIST. Applying for things in the real world means having your mom/aunt/third cousin on your list of contacts is not ok. Having your college advisor, your internship mentor, or someone else who you've worked with is who you want to have your references. Make sure to have their name, position title, address, phone number and email handy for when your applying.

  3. Have a draft of a Cover Letter for the TYPE of positions your applying for. Having a basic outline to go by will save you tons of time when applying for things. This cover letter will change based on the position/company/fellowship that you are applying for, but the basics of your experience/career goals/ past research are all the same. I currently have cover letters ready for jobs, fellowships, and PhD programs all ready to go all I have to do is tweak each one to where/what I am applying for.

  4. Have your college transcripts, even if they are unofficial saved on your computer. There are many times that an application asks for these and having them on my computer already saved has made it so much easier than going through the process every time I go to apply for things.

  5.  Plan out a checklist of what is required for the application that includes: documents needed (Resume, Cover Letter, Transcripts, Passport, etc.), Application Due Date, References (do they need a list or do they want an official letter before you apply), Position information that your applying for ( what makes you a 'fit' for this position) and lastly the contact information for who/where you are applying. Knowing all of this will make the stress of multiple applications seem much more manageable because you will know everything that is required without having to look it up over and over again.

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