Tips for Finding Your First Job After College

first job after college

Finding that first job after college can be hard. These tips can help.

Following your last finals and finally saying goodbye to college, the real world hits you pretty quick. While I am sure you can remember many late and difficult nights meeting deadlines during your studies, job hunting becomes the next big challenge in your life. Finding that first job after college can be a full-time gig in itself.

This can be a difficult time for many graduates. As employers look for experience, and you seek to obtain it, you may feel discouraged or lost as you apply. But, before you throw in the towel, here are some tips for finding your first job after college:

  • Update your resume. This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many recent college grads miss the mark on this one. Do a little resume audit, and make sure it is updated with recent relevant information. Include your grade point average (GPA) and any college or other activities, including community volunteering. It is commonly recommended to attempt to keep your resume one page long, but this can be difficult. Try not to exceed two. Always update it when you gain new skills. You don’t need a new job to attain new knowledge. Examples include learning a new language or website coding in your now free time. These talents should be added on your resume.
  • Look for internships. Opportunities are often right under your nose. If you are having a hard time finding internships in your area, try to create one for yourself from a company in which you’d like to work. Internships are a great way to build experience that you can include on your newly updated resume. Even if you have a couple internships under your belt already from college, you may need to do more until an employer takes your bait.
  • Follow up with your connections. Throughout your college years, you’ve been exposed to connections you may not even realize you have. Reach out to old professors from your major to see if they can inform you of available positions.  If you completed any internships that did not lead to an employment opportunity, follow up with them to see if there are any openings or if they can provide you with a reference. Networking is a great way to find a new job without using a resume. Friends and families can also be a part of your job network. Be sure to ask for help as you continue the job hunt. Not to mention, you can check with your Alma mater’s career office to check on any upcoming opportunities.
  • Attend career fairs. Face to face interactions still prove to be effective. Being able to talk to potential employers in person is important so that you can ask questions, make a first impression and discover jobs that will match your skill set. Many colleges host these career fairs, but you don’t always need to be a college student to attend them. Check local community boards and websites to see what job fairs may be coming up in your area.
  • Be flexible. Jobs do not need to be black and white. If a company has room for growth or potential for you to utilize your degree, you should consider applying even for positions outside of your field. For example, if you are hoping to make it as a social media manager in a big corporate company, try applying for a front desk or assistant position first to try working your way up. Don’t worry if you do not get nor find that dream job after college; if they were easy to obtain, everyone would have a dream job.   A lot of people end up going with alternatives like an online criminal justice degree instead of attending brick and mortar institutions.
  • Don’t rely on one resource. There are multiple resources you can use when applying for jobs. Sites like Indeed.com as well as your local career center are just a couple examples. The more you are able to distribute your experience summary to potential jobs, the better your chances of landing one quickly after college.
  • Personalize your materials. You will have a better chance of standing out to employers if you personalize both your cover letters and resume to the job listing. Don’t talk about your gardening skills in the cover letter if the job is for writing English papers. Make sense?

One of the most important things to remember during the application process is  to keep applying. You may face rejection, but this is a normal part of the process and should be expected. Keep going anyway, even though it can be a daunting task. Stay positive and remember that every time you get your resume out, you are regularly exposing yourself to new opportunities. Practice makes perfect, and the more you apply, the closer you are to landing  that first job.

What tactics did you take when applying for your first job after college?

What You Need To Know Before Selling Your Home

Selling your home requires some research and time.

Selling your home requires some research and time.

Selling your home can be both exciting and stressful. It’s typically a sign of a new adventure ahead, whether it is moving to a new area for a job or even downsizing to start a new milestone in your life.

With the real estate market flourishing right now, depending on where you live, you may have an easier time putting your house on the market now than you did in previous years. However, regardless of how well the market is doing, you still need to be aware of some do’s and don’ts of real estate. Here is what you need to know before selling your home:

Speak with a professional.

Even if you are selling your home on your own, hiring a real estate attorney will be helpful to have some legal eyes look over your contracts and paperwork. Catching any flaws before any sales are finalized can help to save you money in the future.

Put it online.

Online house listings make your home even more visible to the public along with providing quick updates regularly to browsers.

Hire an inspector.

You’ll save yourself so much time and energy by having a qualified individual come in and inspect your home. You should consider doing this before you even put your house on any listings or begin showing it so that you can strengthen your sale price by making any repairs or updates as needed.

Focus on curb appeal.

Take some time to improve the curb appeal of your home in order to attract more buyers. Invest in some simple landscaping and keep your lawn tidy (if applicable), raking leaves in the fall and clearing your sidewalks of snow in the winter. Think about what attracts you to a new property and apply this concept to your own home.

Price your home in line with both the area and market.

As tempting as it may be to price your home that extra 100 grand you feel it is worth, doing so may turn off potential buyers. You can attempt to go a little above market price, but talk with a trusted professional on what they would advise.  If you are in a location that has many individuals selling their home, you will have a hard time attracting a buyer if your price is out of range.

Have your paperwork ready.

Being as prepared as possible will help keep things flowing as best as possible when you are ready to put your house on the market. You’ll be able to answer any questions about taxes, the property and the like with ease by having any and all documents associated with the house on hand. Different questions may arise not only from the potential buyer but also from your listing agent or attorney.

Get rid of the clutter.

Before you even start showing your house, clear out your closets, get rid of clutter and make it look even extra homey by adding in some house plants in various rooms. The key is to show space to those coming to consider buying your home. If they can not only imagine themselves living there but see how much space is available, you will be helping to boost the sales process along so that you can move on with your new adventure.

Hire your own real estate agent.

Although an added cost, having your own agent is a great way to obtain the price negotiations that are favorable to you. Agents representing buyers have more of a loyalty to their client instead of helping you sell your home, so they will be trying to get the best deal for their customer. Thus, if you have your own agent, you’ll be able to counteract professionally with rates that are close in alignment to your selling goals.


 

Selling your home can be intimidating (and nerve-wrecking), but by following the above tips and doing your research, you will gain a much better handle on the process. Just keep these in mind with each real estate sale.

A Personal Finance Checklist To Kick Off Your 30’s

A personal finance checklist can help you achieve financial goals.

A personal finance checklist can help you achieve future goals.

A personal finance checklist can be useful to ensure you are on well on your way to achieving financial success (or even simply evaluating where you stand).

Your 20’s are a great time to figure your life (and yourself) out. By the time you are 30, though, you should ideally have much of your life in order. Today’s millennials do tend to take longer to get married and start their lives, as recent reports show, but in order to set yourself up for your later years, you should analyze and improve your finances now.

I just celebrated my 29th birthday at the end of April, which encouraged me to reflect on my life experiences thus far and consider the future. The last decade was focused on enhancing and nurturing my career and my personal life along with developing myself as a full-blown adult. Basically, I spent the last 10 years getting my life in order.

As I prepare for a new decade, it’s time to take the next steps for my future. One of the first steps includes using my own personal financial checklist to accomplish over the next year in order to achieve more of my financial goals. With each milestone, my monetary ambitions change, and yours should too. I’ve already accomplished some of these topics and others still need improvement. As you begin to map out your own, this personal finance checklist will hopefully help you in more ways than one as well:

Budgeting 

  • If you have not already created a budget for yourself, you should do this first and foremost. Tracking your income and expenses is definitely not fun, but it does help to keep you in check and help you build wealth.

Reduce your debt 

  • By the time I was 27, I had paid off my car and two credit cards. My credit score not only went up significantly following these achievements, but I was able to use the money I was using toward this debt to increase my savings account. While I still have my student loan debt I am working on, my credit cards were my top priority to pay off as their interest rates tend to be higher than student loans. I’ve been able to pay more than the minimum amount each month over the last few years with less debt hanging over my shoulders though.

Save for retirement 

  • If you have not been lucky enough to have a 401(k) or similar retirement plan with your job, it’s time to open your own Roth IRA or another retirement savings account option. If you do have a 401(k) with your employer, start contributing more toward this fund. Ask your employer about a match program they may offer and do what you need to do in order to take advantage of this benefit. If you can swing it, you could invest in a separate plan as well as following one with work.
    • How much should you put toward retirement? A common recommendation is a minimum of 10% of your income. If that does not seem feasible at this time, especially with other savings plans you may be contributing to, such as an emergency fund, shoot for 2-5% and work your way up to the 10% goal.

Diversify your financial portfolio

  • As you reach your 30’s, this becomes important to include on your finance checklist. Mix up your investments through stocks, bonds and the like. Before going into such a venture blindly, be sure to do your research and even consult with a financial adviser or stock broker.

Plan for the future

  • No one ever wants to really think about dying or life emergencies, but the fact of the matter is, anything can happen to any of us at any time. As you begin to build financial stability, consider starting a family and reach more life milestones, you will want to contemplate the following:
    • Life insurance. Having a life insurance plan for you (and your spouse, regardless of whether or not he or she works) will be imperative in making any hurdles life throws your or your family’s way a little easier to deal with.
    • Naming beneficiaries on your accounts. Appointing your assets to various people in the event of your passing may not seem necessary at this point in your life, but you need to be prepared for anything. If you are not married and do not have a family of your own, you will want to consider leaving your financial accounts and any assets to your parents or siblings. Your beneficiaries will most likely change and need updated multiple times throughout your life, but get it started now so that it is not a worry later.
    • Estate planning. You do not need to be wealthy in order to start your estate planning. Get a power of attorney and a health care proxy to act on your behalf should you become debilitated and/or lose the ability to make your own decisions. Doing this will ensure you still have a full say in what happens particularly to you and your family.
    • Disability insurance. Regardless of age, you should be prepared for any event in life. If something happens that causes you to no longer be capable of working, disability insurance will provide you with a source of income.

Have a financial plan with your significant other

  • Married or not, live-in couples and relationships that openly discuss finances tend to have a higher success rate in surviving the partnership. Talk to your significant other about a financial plan and goals and compromise when needed.
    • Not married or living with a significant other? Create your own financial plan and be as specific with it as possible.

While a personal finance checklist may seem a bit daunting, it does not have to be all work and no play. It is still important to remember to splurge on yourself from time to time. As you become more financially responsible (and stable), you will find this much easier to do without placing much stress on your bank account.

Start a new decade off right with this personal finance checklist as a beginning point. If you are already in your 30’s and have yet to incorporate any of the above items, take some time to begin including these in your life goals and plan.

What would you add to the list?