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College professor Mark Beal offers advice for students as graduation nears

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The final weekend of April and first few weekends of May mark the dates many college graduation ceremonies take place across the country.

As students leave their institutions and embark on their careers, they often leave school with more questions than answers.

Mark Beal, a public relations veteran and adjunct professor of PR and marketing at Rutgers University, answered some common questions his students have asked him in an exclusive interview with ABC News. He discusses some of the common mistakes post-graduates make, and offers some advice on how soon-to-be graduates should begin their careers.

He recently published a guidebook, 101 Lessons They Never Taught You In College: The Essential Guide for Students and Recent Graduates to Launch Their Careers, offering advice on building a successful career. Without revealing all the details in his book, he shared a few lessons and broke down some key things seniors should consider as graduation approaches.

1. "Experience Counts"

Lesson 35 in Beal's book: there is no learning experience like actual work experience according to Beal. Even if it is not your dream job, Beal advises graduates to immerse themselves in their work no matter where they end up because when they go for another job, the first question they will receive is, "What sort of experience do you have?”

This lesson applies to undergraduates as well. Beal advises students to for work experience after their freshman year to learn about an industry they may want to one day pursue.

2. "Be Confident, Not Cocky"

Beal wants students to consider their body language when they finally land that interview. Nerves are normal, but he advises projecting confidence.

Some tips: shake the interviewer's hand firmly, look them in the eyes, and thank them afterwards for their time.

He says doing just the opposite--a soft hand shake or looking at the ground while speaking--could cause a hiring manager to immediately consider other candidates.

3. Set your own curriculum

Beal calls it "being a student for life." On the verge of graduation, students have the opportunity to create their own curriculums. They can choose what newspapers to read, podcasts they prefer to listen to, and when they land a job, can choose how they immerse themselves in that industry.

Whatever path they choose, Beal wants soon-to-be graduates to constantly challenge themselves to learn. He feels it helps them get closer to a career that aligns with their interests.

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