How to Advance Your Career After Graduation

June 14, 2022

Amy Vaughan-Roland, Ed.D.

Ed.D. in Leadership

Illustration of a graduation cap, which flows down into three more illustrations, one of camera, one of a resume, and one of a rating system

Congratulations! You’ve graduated from your program. So, now what?

For most of us, the reason we pursue higher education is because we are looking for career advancement opportunities. Now that your degree is in hand, it’s time to make that career advancement happen. How do you do it?

Get a good headshot.

A picture is worth a thousand words. You wouldn’t think it but having a professional headshot can go a long way. You’ll want to use on your headshot as the profile picture for your online profiles on LinkedIn or Indeed. I even included my headshot in the upper corner of my resume. It helps your interviewer remember you after the interview is long over. In today’s world of masking, it’s a nice opportunity to present your true self under the mask when engaging in career discussions. Remember, this isn’t a Facebook profile pic. This is a professional photo that shows you as the educated, dedicated employee they want on their team.

Get your resume in order.

Think of your resume as your highlight reel. I’ve been in education for 20 years, so it’s unnecessary for me to list my student teaching experience, as that is truly irrelevant at this point. Numbers never hurt either – if you want to showcase student progress or a program you created, provide hard data that shows student growth or program effectiveness. Remember, your resume is often how an employer first meets you. You want it to be memorable. I used some of the resources at Her First 100K when writing my resume to help make it stand out.

Do some homework.

Do some investigation about the workplace before the interview. What are people saying on websites like Glassdoor? Do a search of job descriptions for similar positions at different districts or locations. Be ready to go into your interview informed about what the job entails. When your interviewer asks if you have any questions, be prepared by having a few well thought out job-specific questions at the ready. This will show that you already understand the position and that you’re hungry to know more about how you’ll contribute to the team.

Know the numbers.

Talking about money and salary is often seen as taboo, but you’ve worked REALLY hard to get your degree and become an expert in your field. DO NOT sell yourself short. Have an idea of the national salary range for the position that you are interviewing for. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a range of numbers for specific positions. Use that to give you an idea of where to start the salary negotiation. There is no need to settle for less than you are worth and even though it can be uncomfortable to make salary demands, you are highly skilled and worth it. Be your own advocate.

You’ve worked hard for your degree! You’ve done it for yourself, for your family and for your future. Go land that dream job! I’m proud of you and know you can do it.

The fully online programs at American College of Education will maximize the return on your educational investment. Explore our programs and see where they can take your career.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.
Amy Vaughan-Roland, Ed.D.
Amy Vaughan-Roland, Ed.D., Ed.D. in Leadership

Amy has a strong passion for educating all learners and has over 12 years of experience in special education. She works on her family's dairy farm and is currently a doctoral candidate.

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