So it’s official – I no longer fall under the category of those who can say “I graduated from school in May.”  I am a year out of college and I was on the post-grad job search for a full year (essentially) until I landed my first job, 2 weeks shy of my 1-year-graduation-anniversary.

This past weekend, thousands of students came to the end of their college careers. At the end of my college career, only 4 out of my group of 10 girlfriends made the decision not to go back to school. And if you (like me) didn’t make the decision to go to grad school right out of college, or (like me) avoided real world responsibilities at all costs while in school, you are now facing “the next step” aka finding a real job.

Before I get ahead of myself, I want to make sure all of you recent grads take the time to let it sink in, all you’ve learned and accomplished the last few years. You may have no clue what the future holds for you, but look how far you’ve gotten already!

Was that enough time? OK, back to reality. The celebrations will soon come to an end and you may start to feel the pressure building; the after effects of graduating from college. The stress of the job search and all of its competitive glory.

As a newly-listed “I graduated a year ago” individual, I thought it only appropriate to share some personal advice, based on my job search experience, to help you through your own:

Don’t put things off

It’s very easy to get distracted by all the plans you have for this summer. You can slip into the mindset of “I’ll take care of it tomorrow,” and all of a sudden you find yourself sitting at Christmas dinner, scrambling to answer the dreaded “so what are you doing with our life?” question.

Set weekly goals

Devoting time to your job search may require some scheduling. It’s important to set yourself some weekly goals to help you stay on track. Maybe it’s giving yourself an hour to research new companies. Maybe you commit yourself to sending out X number of applications by the end of the each week.

Be persistent

Two words: Follow Up. Unfortunately, the places you’ll be applying may not have the ability to devote their entire day to answering your emails. Things get lost in the shuffle sometimes. Remember that as a job seeker, it’s your job to get noticed.

Ask for assistance

Get a second opinion on your resume or follow that lead from a friend-of-a-friend on a potential position. Take in all the advice you can – and take advantage of the help people are willing to give you. You may be surprised by those who act as mentors to you during your search.

Don’t compare yourself to your friends

This was by far one of my biggest challenges. When I would receive news that one of my friends landed a job, I immediately began planning dinner and celebrating with them. But, this excitement was usually closely followed by a feeling of failure. It is important to remember that we all are on our own individual paths – moving at different paces and in different directions.

Don’t give up

Timing is everything. One piece of advice I received that did prove to be true is that everything will eventually fall into place. It is inevitable that something will happen if you make the decision to try until it does.

If you feel you don’t have enough experience on your resume to land a job– go get some. It looks better to keep busy striving towards what you really want, rather than staying in one place. Go explore. Take a risk. Now is the time in your life when you have the opportunity to do so.

If you’ve never considered temp work, this is a great time to contact a staffing agency to gain additional experience. A friend encouraged me to reach out to Atrium and my recruiter became a mentor to me and was able to assist me in all areas of my job search. Ironically, a position became available internally and that is how I ended up in my new role at Atrium.

It took me a full year to land where I am and in that year there were plenty of times I felt like giving up and settling. Often the thought “I’ll never get a job” would creep back in my head, but I was quickly reminded that right job would come my way if I made the decision to give it all I had.

I learned a lot about myself in the process, including a better understanding of what it really is that I want to do in my career. Class of 2015 – best of luck! The class of ‘14 is here if you need us.