Do you know a recent college grad? Four short years ago, I was a new college graduate, and there were quite a few things that my friends decided to do after graduation that I didn’t fully agree with. Some of them are doing okay now, but if they would have avoided these 5 blunders after graduation, their lives could have been a ton easier today.
1) Don’t Pursue Grad School Immediately After Your Bachelors Degree
I have had quite a few friends that had a little trouble finding a job immediately after their college graduation, so they just decided to get some more education. It could only help them find a job, right? Wrong. After they conquered grad school, they found themselves over-qualified for lower-level jobs and they lacked the experience for higher-level positions. Many of them are finding themselves in more debt and are having an even more difficult time finding their first job.
I busted my butt to find my first job, and while it didn’t pay amazingly well, I now have four solid years of corporate experience under my belt and my pay has increased to higher levels than my graduate friends.
2) Don’t Reward Yourself With a New Car
Congratulations… you graduated from college… just like all of your friends who have no guarantee of a successful future. You’ve worked so hard these past four years that you deserve to have a new car! I DON’T THINK SO. You have more than $20,000 racked up in student loans, you have no guarantee that you’ll do well in your new job, and you have no idea what the real world is even about yet! If you have a beater car, I suggest that you hold onto it for a while until you pay off your student loans.
3) Don’t Limit Your Job Search To Your Local Area
So many people want to find a job within 30 miles from their hometown, and I do understand the draw. I love the area I grew up in, and I love my family very much as well. But, you should never limit your job search to such a confined location, especially as a college graduate when there are thousands of kids hunting for a job just like you.
When I graduated, my friend and I moved down to Florida (from Michigan) and found decent jobs to kick-start our careers. Fast-forward three years and I’m back in my hometown! With my degree AND my three years experience, finding a job in my local area was a breeze! I would highly recommend that anyone follow the same path.
4) Don’t Take a Year to “Find Yourself”
If there’s one thing that employers notice on your resume, it’s holes in your schooling and your experience. If you graduated last year and you’re just now interviewing for your first job, your interviewer is going to ask what you’ve been up to. If you answer with, “I decided to explore Europe for a year before settling down in my career,” they are going to have bright red lights going off in their head and alarms sounding all around them. ‘WARNING, WARNING, this kid is a flake and won’t last in the working world for more than a few months before he decides to leave this job and try something new!’
Ideally, you should have a job lined up before you even graduate. It’s often easier to find a job while you’re still a student then if you try looking after graduation – especially if it’s years after…
5) Don’t Go Back To Your Old Part-Time Job
I know that sometimes it’s hard to force yourself to grow up, but if you head back to that part-time job after you graduate, you might be stuck there for longer than you think. The same way an interviewer would notice holes in your schooling and experience, they’ll also notice if you currently work at a job that’s unrelated to your degree.
Believe me, that old part-time job isn’t going to impress anybody, and it’s best to flee from it soon after graduation. If you can’t find a job in your field and you absolutely have to go back to your old job, then at least find an unpaid intership with some work that’s related to your degree. Then you’ll have something to talk about when you’re interviewing for that dream job.
Have you noticed any of your friends breaking one of these five principles? Would you add anything to the list?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.