I’m used to racing along with multiple professional and personal projects in the works, juggling many super-fun balls in the air, while working hard to breathe once in a while. The lull between graduation/wedding month and full time employment has been an interesting experiment.
LinkedIn has been a great connecting tool this month, and I’ve had great success contacting alumni with interesting, relevant sounding work in the Twin Cities area. This has also led to becoming more involved in the Minneapolis creative community. Sending introductory emails linking to my profile has lent some credibility.
With a 100% response rate, I must be doing something right. My InMails always include:
- An up-front ask. “I’d love to talk with you about your experiences in this company, as well as …”
- How I found them. “I also graduated from this college and found your profile through the alumni page.”
- My relevant background. “I recently graduated with my MBA and have relocated to the Twin Cities, and am interested in these fields which is what your experience is in, etc.”
- My objective. “I am currently looking to build a network of mentors while searching for the next great professional opportunity.”
Although school is out, there’s no reason to stop learning! (Especially while you still get free access to services!) I’m happiest when I’m learning, so taking a few classes on Lynda.com has been useful. The best courses are in programs or topics that I know virtually nothing about, so the slow pace works well.
Some tips for getting the most out of Lynda:
- Close all other tabs when working on a Lynda course
- Take copious notes. (I use Evernote)
- Stop and start the video to try things out as they talk about them
- Make an effort to use the exercise files
Part Time Work
Following graduation, my venture partner and I got an opportunity to work with a pre-launch start-up in San Francisco doing user experience strategy. It has been invaluable to continue working on an interesting, challenging project with a great team while stretching my user experience design skills. Regular meetings and tight deadlines, even at 13-17 hours a week, are enough to keep me feeling involved.
Making a part-time, remote, contract gig work:
- Transparently track your hours
- Check in with the client and team members regularly
- Share files and progress when appropriate
- Ask for what you want
How often do you have time to make pizza with homemade ricotta, homemade pizza dough, homemade buffalo tofu, and fresh sauce? In normal life, probably never. Taking advantage of the time I have to try baking experiments and make delicious food has been a joy. Each project ends with something to show/eat for it, even if not everything turns out perfectly.