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Get a life!

College grads can get head start in 'Real Life'

(CNN) -- Life after college: a vast landscape of transition, opportunity and the unknown.

It's something over one million students will face this spring when they graduate from their respective institutions and step into the real world. And many will head out on their own without a clue where they are going.

"They are completely unprepared for what they're going to do," says Margot Lester of Pipeline Press, Inc.

Fortunately, Lester's company is playing navigator, creating maps by the people who have traveled the real world terrain.

Welcome to 'Real Life'

The "Real Life Guide" series -- which includes the books "Life After College," "Graduate and Professional School," and "Starting Your Career" -- are part of a new trend in publishing that aims to give recent grads the direction they need to live the life they've always dreamed.

Kaplan Books has also published a similar guide for graduates titled "Reality 101."

"If you read these books and follow these steps, you are going to improve your chances of achieving your goal," Lester says of the "Real Life Guide" series.

"Life After College," penned by Lester, Nicky Rousseau, and Allen Wyke, and "Starting Your Career" written by Lester, target 20-somethings by offering practical advice on subjects that aren't covered in College 101.

Each writer concentrates on their realm of expertise, dishing out advice they learned the hard way -- through years of experience.

The books include sections on writing resumes ("You need a different resume for every job you apply for," Lester says), zeroing in on career opportunities, relocating to a new city, financial strategies to capitalize on the new paycheck, even quitting your job.

"(Graduates) will read this and think 'The person is talking my language,'" Lester says.

"Life After College" also offers tips and techniques for using what Lester calls the "world's greatest resource" -- the Internet.

Each book in the series comes equipped with a CD-ROM that connects users to top Internet resources for job-seekers, including a resume-building site and links to websites featuring the classified ads of dozens of major cities across the United States.

Back to school?

Of course, for those who have been to the front lines of the job market and don't like what they see, "Real Life Guides" has published "Graduate and Professional School."

The book is written by Cynthia Rold, a former dean of admissions at Duke University School of Law and the University of Illinois College of Law.

"It's the insider's guide," Lester says. "Who better to tell you the tips to get into grad school than the person who used to do it?"

The guide gives pragmatic advice on test-taking, gaining admittance, financial aid and job options.

And, perhaps most important, it asks the question: Do you really want to go back to school?

"It talks very frankly about evaluating your motives for doing this, whether or not you're just postponing reality," Lester says.

Of the "Real Life Guide" series, Lester admits reading the books is not a guarantee for grads to attain overnight success.

"The books are not a straight line to the corner office," Lester says. "But they're going to help you figure out where you want to go."


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