5 Tips for College Grads

Congratulations! After four years (or maybe five) of midterms, finals, all-nighters, projects and presentations, you’re finally ready to take your first steps out into the “real world.” For some, this may mean starting a job you’ve already secured, moving out of the dorm and into your first apartment, moving away from your family or moving back in with your folks until you figure things out.

Just breathe—it’s going to be okay.

While post-graduation can be a stressful time if you’re on the hunt for a place to live, a place to work and a way to pay back those student loans, it is also an exciting time to start fresh. As you begin establishing yourself in the business world, check out these tips to help you transition from the classroom to the board room.

  1. Spend less, save more. You’ve probably seen those movies where 20-somethings sit on the floor eating Spaghetti-Os because they can’t afford furniture or actual food. While that may be a slight exaggeration, you will probably not be going out to eat as often or splurging on weekend getaways. While it might still be difficult to imagine yourself buying a new home, you’ll be happy you put your money toward sensible goals like paying off your loans, buying a reliable car or building a comfortable savings. Don’t fall victim to quick loans with high interest rates or “buy now, pay later” schemes—buy only what you can afford.
  1. Clean up your social media. College is usually a fun time for all, but in the world of job interviews, it is wise to clean up your social media pages. Now more than ever, employers are looking at the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages of potential hires, and provocative pictures and offensive language may be the difference between you and John Smith getting the job.
  1. Learn how to sell yourself. In a marketing-driven world, knowing how to sell yourself is key to landing a job. Whether it’s in-person in an interview, through your resume or on your LinkedIn profile, make sure you know how to put your best foot forward. Don’t be shy about talking yourself up, displaying your strengths and admitting your weaknesses (nobody wants to hire someone who cannot answer the question, “What are your weaknesses?”). Which brings us to our next tip …
  1. Practice humility in the workplace. It’s okay to be proud of the degree you worked so hard to earn, but make sure to remain humble. The truth is, you are fresh out of college, and the people interviewing or supervising you have likely been working for several years. So while your advanced degree and amazing computer skills will make you an asset to the company, you still have a lot to learn (and that’s okay!).
  1. Don’t get discouraged. In today’s economy and job market, getting hired is harder than ever. Remember that you might not land the dream job right out of the gate—but just give it time. You need experience, and it might take you several years to work your way up the chain. Don’t get discouraged, and never stop aiming to do what you love.
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