How to Transition Your Wardrobe from College to Post-Grad Life

Life's too short to wear boring clothes. ~ Cushine et Ochs

Of course it is! But all those fun dresses, crazy prints, cute jeans, sorority shirts, and loud bags you've been sporting in college look a lot different from all those "what should I wear to my interview" Pinterest searches you've been doing. How can you transition your wardrobe from college to post-grad life - without going broke or sacrificing your personal style?

Luckily, this task isn't as daunting as it might seem! Here are 7 steps to elevating your style without breaking the bank, and with your own fabulous personality staying front and center!

How To Transition Your Wardrobe From College To Post-Grad Life | Graduation is quickly approaching. Transitioning your wardrobe to post-grad life is a very important part of finding a good job because you want to dress for the job you want. Click through for seven great tips to help you transition your wardrobe today.

1. Know the differences in dress codes - what exactly is "business casual?"

What's appropriate for a bank - blazer, dress pants, blouse, heels - may be way too formal for grad school. Got a creative job? Your "uniform" is going to be completely different depending on the company. That's why it's incredibly important to know the dress code of your job, or of the graduate department you're in. Some companies have manuals, some you just have to feel out, but what's important isn't looking like a clone - it's fitting your personal style into helpful parameters!

2. Identify your personal style, the colors you love, and what looks best on YOU.

Before starting any shopping, closet purging, or outfit planning, understanding what looks best on you, and what you truly love about your clothes, is a great place to start. If you want some guidelines, check out I Love Your Style: How To Define and Refine Your Personal Style by Amanda Brooks or The Science of Sexy: Dress to Fit Your Unique Figure with the Style System that Works for Every Shape and Size by Bradley Bayou to get started on figuring out your style and body type. Then, and sorry, but this is going to be a huge mess, take every piece of clothing you own and try it on. Do you like it? One pile. Do you LOVE it? Another pile. Is it...meh? Different pile. Then go through the piles and look for trends, colors, shapes - anything that helps you get closer to your authentic style. 

3. For every fun piece you purchase, buy a basic or really versatile piece.

So now you have a pretty good idea what you like, and what you don't - good job! Now let's go shopping/thrifting/raiding our friends closets! I'm in love with Lilly Pulitzer, with fun prints and patterns, but not everything I own can look like that. Plus, want to wear that Lilly dress to work? Sure! A Lilly dress with a patterned cardigan and shoes with giant bows in a corporate office? Nope. Statement pieces are great - so buy those fun pieces! But make sure to get the "basics."

4. Speaking of Basics...

Surprise! They're different for everyone! For some people, a white button down is a basic - for me, it's a giant target for spills, and not something that would go with anything I wear. Love a good blazer? Buy one in fun AND tame colors! Obsessed with wide-leg pants? Great - get those floral ones but maybe some navy ones too! Basics should be pieces that you can throw on with those statement pieces, that tie outfits together, and that above all, elevate your look. 

5. Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize

The right accessories can make or break an outfit. True story - I was once offered a job on the basis of my fabulous watch. Even if you aren't living in a Twilight Zone episode, the right accessories can tie your look together.

  • Are you wearing a solid dress and cardigan? Pair it with a statement necklace.
  • Are you wearing a patterned blouse? Pair it with some pearl earrings.
  • Do you want to show off an interest, but don't feel comfortable wearing that dinosaur patterned dress to work yet? Buy some cute dinosaur earrings, or a bracelet with dinosaurs on it.

Accessories are supposed to be fun - you don't have to give up your identity to be professional!

6. Everything looks better with the right shoes. 

This DOES NOT mean you have to wear heels. But gone are the days when throwing on flip flops with every outfit was an acceptable time-saving measure. Shoes are also a cheap way to experiment with colors and styles without too much commitment, something that's crucial when trying to make the transition from college student to post-grad life. 

7. HAVE FUN!

Graduating college is huge, and the life changes that happen after college are fun and exciting and scary. No matter what you do after college, you're going to want to balance making a great impression, something that style can help with, with figuring out who you are in this big transitional period. Keep doing your research, keep reading those books, keep trying out new things, lovelies, but also have a lot of fun doing it! Fashion is an adventure - be confident, willing to learn, and excited about the journey!

Enjoy your shopping, organizing, and learning!

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How To Have A Great Graduation Season With Minted

This post was sponsored my Minted. Thanks to the lovely individuals over at Minted for sponsoring this post about graduation for my readers.

Graduation season is quickly approaching. Even though it's just March I know that all graduating seniors probably have a countdown already starting on their phone, computer, and anywhere else with a clock. Most graduating seniors could probably tell me when they'd be graduating down to the second if asked (just kidding, but really...😂) I have attended quite a few graduations over the last few years and I have graduated both high school and college. In August I will be graduating with my Master's in Sociology. I cannot wait to provide my tips on how to have a great graduation season and make it through the season (realteively) unscathed.

How To Have A Great Graduation Season With Minted | The process leading up to, during, and after graduation is difficult. Most people don't know what to expect because a college graduation is so different from high school graduation. Click through for my tips on what to do before, during, and after graduation so that you have a successful graduation season.

So, first and foremost, you may be be asking, what is Minted? Well, my friends, Minted is a wonderful service that allows you to support local artists by browsing a site filled with designs from artists all over the world. Minted has a vareity of products on their website and they are all so beautiful and diverse. The Minted artists really know what they are doing and so does the Minted team when it comes to choosing the art that is showcased on their site. These artists make everything an art form, even the simplest invitation. You are bound to find a beautiful personalized gift on their website.

Before The Ceremony

There are many tasks that need to get done before you slip into your cap and gown and walk across the stage. These are my tips for the things you should do before your graduation ceremony.

don't neglect your school work

If you haven't had spring break yet you are going to have it soon. The after Spring Break excitement of getting ready to be done with college is real. You cannot let this interfere with your school work, especially if you are taking any mandatory college classes this semester, which you may be doing.

If you are not graduating this year, try to take your last mandatory classes in the fall semester of your senior year. The spring semester is not nearly as productive because graduation is so close you can almost taste it.

I tried and succeed at taking my mandatory capstone class during the fall semester of my senior year which was SO HELPFUL because while I was worried about making sure my grades were good, I wasn't stressing out about my classes as much because I knew that a C or B wouldn't stop me from graduating. (I made a 3.8 my last semester though so I didn't go too crazy.)

It is so important to take your school work seriously so that you can end your college years strong. Plus, nothing is set in stone until you get your diploma. Your graduation isn't set in stone, your graduate school attendance isn't set in stone, everything is in the air still. I say this, not to scare you, but to make sure you know the gravity of the situation.

Think About your invitations and graduation photos

Inviting family and friends to your college graduation is so important, especially if you are one of the first ones in your family to graduate college. People want to see you succeed. You don't necessarily have to take graduation photos to get your invitations done, but getting glammed up for a graduation shoot is the perfect way to get excited about graduation and the next steps in your life. Plus, if the photographs are great you could potentially use them for headshots as you are looking for a career.

Minted has all sorts of beautiful designs for graduation announcements. Some of them even have real foil in them. Here are just a few of my favorite announcements so you can get a great picture of what these announcements look like.

Start thinking about the future

If you haven't started looking for a job, I definitely encourage you to start doing different things to prepare for the job search. There are so many things you can do to start this process

  • Have a meeting with your school's career services office: This is the last time you will have such complete access to a service like career services. Make sure you take sometime to appreciate the service while you have access to it and use it.
  • Make and/or perfect your résumé: If you have yet to make a résumé, get on it right now. There are so many resources out there and this is also the perfect time to meet with your career services office and let them go over your results. If you already have one made, perfect it.
  • Make business cards: Minted has SO many beautiful business cards on their website. You will seriously love them all. I can't wait to show you the business cards I got made through Minted, but here are a couple of my favorites:

Pink Walsh | Gold Dip | Name To Remember

I know that getting business cards seems so strange, but Minted has so many amazing business card designs that you can't go wrong by at leasting checking out their archive of awesome cards!

Do you need some extra help thinking about your career path? Check out my post on How To Be A LinkedIn Rockstar!

Think About Living Arrangements

For many college students this is the first time they have ever been out and about on their own. You want your living arrangements to feel home-y and unique to you. Minted has beautiful home decor products that you should totally put on your wishlist so that you can decorate your new apartment or house after you graduate. They are also perfect for decorating your desk at your new job.

Ivy | Flower Hands | California Map Filled Foil State

I love the wall art that Minted has on their website because it allows me to personalize my space no matter if I am creating an office or a home. It's the perfect gift to ask for for any graduating senior.

During the ceremony

Graduation is not always easy to survive and I am here to offer some tips for surviving any college graduation. Learn from my mistakes and have an even better graduation day than I did (and I had a pretty swell day, y'all!)

Secure your graduation cap

I CANNOT recommend this enough. Graduation is stressful enough without worrying that your cap will fly off all day, and sometimes it does actually fall off. Mine did. I held up the line after walking off stage because my cap fell off and I had to put it back on so I could take my official graduation picture. Those picture proofs still looked pretty flawless though and I was about to say goodbye to college anyhow so what is embarrassment? Seriously, though, secure your cap so you spend less time worrying about your cap and more time enjoying the ceremony.

Get to graduation as early as possible

I was not in my college town the day of graduation. I had actually gone to stay the night with my sister because I wanted to get my hair done the day before graduation. We were running a smidge late because my sister lived about 30 minutes from my campus on a good day, and of course traffic was making the situation a million times worse. 

So if you can, get to graduation as soon as you can. Yes, it's no fun to stand in line forever and wait to be able to walk in to the place where the ceremony is being held, but it's also not fun to have to rush through the process of getting prepped and ready to graduate.

Graduation is confusing. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes to make sure that people are in the correct order and sitting with their perspective colleges and majors. So get there early so you can find your place and get excited about the experience of graduation.

Pay attention during the ceremony

I know it will be SO EASY to doze off during graduation or think about other people and other things especially during the time where they are calling each and every name. Things can change in a heartbeat during graduation, though, so you want to make sure that you are adequately able to understand what is happening so you can react when necessary. 

A picture from my college graduation

A picture from my college graduation

After The Ceremony

Here are my tips for having the best time after the graduation ceremony is over, because in my opinion, that is just as important.

Enjoy Your Family

Take some time to enjoy your family during this beautiful occasion. Your family has come together to enjoy your day so don't forget to be thankful and gracious as you spend time with relatives close and far. They came  to celebrate your brains after all.

Sleep As much as you can

I know, crazy, but get some rest. You will have so much to tackle in the coming months from finding a job if you haven't already to coming up with living arrangements. Don't be afraid to get a nap or three in during the days following the ceremony.

Give thanks & Spread Love

Your family and friends have probably given you some amazing things and their company during this time in your life. Don't be afraid to show them some love in return. You can quickly and easily do this by writing a handwritten thank you note to people in your life. Minted has you covered on this one.

Starlight | Painterly Script | Rosebloom

Sending out a thank you card is a must for people who have given you fun gifts, sent you money, or even attended your graduation. If you can do so I would highly encourage getting some cute note cards with your name on it for a more personalized touch instead of just generic thank you cards. Minted has tons of thank you cards just for grads and tons of general thank you cards too. In my opinion it doesn't matter which kind of note cards you send, as long as you are thankful.

Final Thoughts

The graduation process can be hard, but it doesn't have to be. Minted can really be a great tool for you as you begin the process of picking out graduation invitations and becoming more familiar with everything from home decor to business cards. Minted really has your back. Check back on Monday, April 3rd as I will be sharing some of my favorite Minted products for graduation seniors so that you can put these items on your list. I got quite a haul from Minted that I can't wait to share with you.

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Amanda Cross

My name is Amanda Cross and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a 20 something college graduate, graduate student, and all around awesome person.

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How to Craft the Perfect Elevator Pitch

Interviews and career fairs can be intimidating - how is it possible to cram all of your life experiences and qualifications into a tiny time frame and convince someone to hire you?

It's a lot to speak about in a short period of time, which is why an elevator pitch is the perfect segue way into a career conversation. Whether you are just starting college or you are launching your full-time career, the elevator pitch is (arguably) one of your most important tools, and after covering a few basic points, you’ll be all set to start conversing with a future employer (and potentially score that job!).

How To Craft The Perfect Elevator Pitch | If you had just 30 second to impress your potential future boss, what would you say? Katrina David helps you understand what goes into an elevator pitch and how you can use this information to craft your perfect pitch and get your foot in the door for your next job.

First - what is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is an introduction that takes about 30 seconds to 1 minute to get through, and it’s designed to be the launchpad for a conversation with a representative, potential employer, interviewer, etc. The name “elevator pitch” comes from the idea that if you were put in an elevator with the CEO of your dream company, you should be able to convince him/her that you would make a good hire before the elevator dings to a stop. 

It's a fun approach to a potentially stressful situation, and a proper elevator pitch will leave a stellar first impression on the representative you are talking to, and give you the opportunity to begin a good conversation with a future employer. 

Include a Strong Opening!

Think of an elevator pitch like a mini persuasive essay - you want your audience to be hooked from the moment you begin, and there are a number of ways to do this. Some websites will tell you to make your elevator pitch into something creative & “out-there” (someone from my school actually rapped his elevator pitch at a career fair!). While this can be a good tactic, it can be debilitating and risky if you don’t have an amazing idea right off the top of your head.

Don’t worry though, because your opening can still be strong and powerful without using a gimmick or a story! Instead, focus on making your initial interaction as strong and confident as possible. If you smile, offer your hand for a firm handshake, and introduce yourself with conviction, you’re sure to grab people’s attention without having to do anything over-the-top.

So, tell me a little bit about yourself...

“Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?” is a fairly common question in interviews and networking events, and it is also the perfect time to use your elevator pitch. Use the initial statement as a guideline for what you’re going to include in the pitch - you want to answer the question, after all!

Make a list of a few basic points about yourself - your name and major for a start. Other things you can include are a succinct reason for why you chose your major, career goals that you may have, or particular “soft-skills” that you would like to highlight. Remember, you’re basically selling yourself, so include points that make you seem more appealing to your interviewer.

Work in two of the points that you made on your list into a sentence, and bam, you have the middle of your elevator pitch.

It's NOT One-Size-Fits-All!

No two people are alike, and that’s the perfect reason why you should be tailoring your elevator pitch to the person you are talking to specifically. In the case of an interview, be sure to speak on what you find most appealing about the job you’re applying for. You can even include some key character traits or skills that were outlined in the job description - that might get you some bonus points with your interviewer because he/she can see that you’re really paying attention. (i.e. if the job description says they are looking for people with “great organizational skills”, throw that into your elevator pitch!)

On the other hand, if you’re starting a conversation at a networking event, you can be a little bit more casual and simply end with a question about the other person. Don’t become a robot that just regurgitates information - that’s a recipe for awkward! Which brings me to my next point...

Go With the Flow

I highly suggest not committing your speech to memory word for word. You want to sound naturally confident and sure of yourself, and unless you are an actor, that can be difficult to achieve if you’re just memorizing words. Plus, conversations can get derailed fairly quickly in a real-life setting, and being comfortable with the most important pieces of information rather than an entire speech will help you stay on your toes in the case of an unexpected question.

Instead of memorizing your elevator pitch like vocabulary words, write a little sticky note out with all of your key points, and practice different variations of the pitch in the mirror a few times the night before your big day. Remember, confidence and comfort are key, and you want to exude confidence and comfort in who you are any time you’re trying to “sell yourself”.

Final Thoughts

Professional settings and elevator pitches may be stressful, but the most important thing in any scenario is that you remain 100% true to yourself at all times. Don’t let all of the preparation and nervousness detract from your personality and passion - after all, you’re pretty great, and you want your potential employers to see that too.

I hope these tips will help you craft your elevator pitch, and you’ll be equipped to take on any interview or networking event by storm. Good luck!

Click the picture above to learn more about Katrina!

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The Ultimate College Toolkit

Dec15

Enter your name and email address to get instant access to my college toolkit. The toolkit features 60+ resources to help you with things like writing, research, scholarships, dorm decor, and so much more. This toolkit will be updated with new resources every month so please check it out today!

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