Yes, you did it! You have successfully completed your final year! No doubt you have already celebrated, but the moment when you finally get your diploma is probably still to come: the graduation ceremony. A moment you have been looking forward to for so long...  

Such a graduation ceremony is an official moment, and can possibly come with some stress. Do you have to give a speech? What should you wear? How do you behave towards your former teachers? To get through your graduation ceremony with flying colours, staffing specialist Walters People lists the most important do's and don'ts.  


Your outfit: a graduation ceremony is a special and official occasion, so it is advisable to pull out a formal outfit. No jeans or shorts, you don't want to be 'underdressed' among your fellow students. Make sure your outfit is neatly prepared in good time. Better leave dirty shoes or worn-out sneakers at home. 

Your guests: you may be allowed to bring a few guests of your own to the graduation ceremony. Think carefully about who you would like to have there. So don't invite friends at random that you might regret afterwards. Let your guests know in good time where and when the graduation ceremony will take place. 

Your accessories: no doubt you will not forget your mobile phone, but make sure it is fully charged. Do you get emotional rather quickly? Then be sure not to forget to bring a handkerchief.  

Planning: are you planning to step out into the world after the official graduation ceremony? Your parents might have possibly planned a dinner party, but you might want to party right away with your friends or former fellow students. Thus, consulting your parents first is not a luxury. 

Before entering 

Graduation ceremonies are often extremely crowded. Agree to a meeting point with your family and friends to gather before and after the ceremony. This will save you a lot of searching and phone calls between the big crowd.  

Do not go to the graduation ceremony alone, try to carpool with family or fellow students. That way you will find a parking space faster and you will not have to look for each other to enter together. 

Put your phone on silent in advance. After all, you don't want to be sitting in the hall with red jaws should it suddenly ring. 

During the graduation ceremony

Is your name or those of your fellow students being called out? Do not start cheering or applauding. Give that message to your own guests as well, especially if you know that they usually react quite enthusiastically and exuberantly to good news. 

If the list of graduates is long, such a graduation ceremony can be rather drawn out and boredom may set in. Still, it is important to remain attentive and give the impression that you are actively listening. Are fellow students giving a speech? Give them your full attention too, and be sure not to laugh inappropriately or overreact.

A number of teachers will also be present at the ceremony, and you will no doubt get the chance to have another chat with them. You will immediately notice that the atmosphere is different now than during class. A joke in between won't hurt, but keep it professional. Did you have good contact with one or more teachers? Then now is a great opportunity to ask them if you can mention their name as a reference on your CV. 

During the reception, you will probably also be offered snacks and drinks. Do not overdo this, especially with alcoholic drinks. 

Also use this opportunity to have a chat with your now ex-classmates. You may not believe it, but they too can help you build your career. Invite them to connect on LinkedIn, so you can expand your network there too and don't miss out on great career opportunities. 

After the graduation ceremony 

Now that the official moment is done, it's time to really celebrate. Maybe you will go out for a drink or something to eat with your family. If that is the case, make sure a reservation has been made and everyone knows where and what time they are expected. Ideally, it should be a restaurant close to the venue of the graduation ceremony so that the party does not have to be on the road for too long. Of course, celebrating at home is also an option: in that case, make sure you have enough snacks and drinks.   

Are you travelling by car? Then don't get behind the wheel intoxicated, take public transport or make sure someone in your party stays sober so you can get home safely.


Read more?

Are you about to kick off your career? Visit our graduate page and learn all about entry-level salaries, read our tips for a flying start to your career and check out our current entry-level jobs. Contact one of our offices and we will be happy to help you find your first job!

Latest jobs

Career advice


Work for us 


Contact us