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?

Money Tips for Millennials

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Millennials and Money

Millennials follow a different path than generations before them, in more ways than one. This group is reaching milestones later in life, such as getting married and starting families, and focusing on life experiences more. We’ve been given all the job advice in the world growing up; the thought that all you need to do is work hard to make it big. However, someone along the way forgot to give more tips on money, especially given the difficulty of finding a job, especially in their field of study, for many millennials.

Although unemployment rates have been decreasing in recent years, millennials still make up roughly 40% of the unemployed in the United States, according to this Newsweek article. This fact can make it difficult for this generation to get ahead, but the good news is there are ways to leverage your finances even if you feel you are working a dead-end job.

Here are four money tips for millennials that I’ve used to help my own finances:

Make saving a social thing. 

I don’t know about you, but I can think of at least five friends off the top of my head who have yet to get that raise at work. While we all love hanging out together, sometimes that involves extra spending that we really should not be doing. But, a way to spend just as much time together without emptying your bank account is to take turns hosting a girls’ night in. Buying some cheap wine and snacks accompanied by some movies and laughter is a great alternative for a night on the town, which can be $81 per night on average.

Also, the crew can ban together to do money-free weekends together. Even if you are not physically hanging out, you can still help to keep one another accountable. Plus, it’s great to have an excuse to bond with friends, especially over common goals.

Create other streams of income. 

If you recognize that you are in a dead-end job, hopefully you are taking steps to get out in order to improve your financial situation. If you are having a difficult time finding a new job (another post for another day), another option would be to create some other sources of revenue as you continue the search.

Seasonal jobs are a great option for millennials as they are often a bit more flexible, but you can also offer to use some skills or talents you currently have to gain some extra income. House cleaning, babysitting and the like are all great ways to make cash fast, but you can also consider freelancing, especially if you want to land that dream job.

Get techy with it. 

Investing seems so unattainable and intimidating before you actually start doing it, not to mention it can also be risky. But, it is a great way to grow your wealth. There are so many online tools you can use now to improve your financial portfolio without the intimidation. These resources cost very little to get started and are great for millennials. The best part is many of them allow you to create your own minimum investment amount, giving you more control over than ever.

Be smart with your options. 

In desperate times, you may be tempted to apply for a payday loan or sign up for another credit card to pay off other expenses; however, by doing so, you are only creating more debt for yourself. These quick options may be easy to get, but they dig your hold even deeper. Don’t get caught up in these fast solutions to solve all your problems; instead develop a strategic and specific plan that will get you out of debt and get you ahead. This plan may include automating a monthly savings amount, consolidating current debt, starting a retirement fund, and cutting back on leisurely spending.

This is another reason why having an emergency savings fund is so important; it will keep you away from wanting to (or needing to) resort to these choices. Avoid accumulating credit card debt and instead work on building your assets and net worth.


 

Millennials definitely have had to face many challenges economically that may not have been expected or predicted by previous generations. By spending some time being careful about your finances, though, you can slowly but surely build a reliable and steady financial future for yourself.

These are just a few ways I’ve focused on improving my finances. What have you done that works for you?

 

 

 

 

Does More Time or More Money Cause Happiness?

Does more money cause happiness?

Does more money cause happiness?

They say money can’t buy happiness, but research over the years shows that those better off financially do tend to have a better well-being…to an extent. Everything has a limit, of course, but if money does not cause us to be happier what does?

Those who are able to pay bills on time and not struggle financially do appear to be happier in general terms, but money being the cause to happiness seems to actually be more about what we buy, according to some research. It is suggested in recent studies that what we spend our money on does determine our happiness, and that actually, spending money on experiences has a longer lasting effect. Although, this is a thought that could have been assumed even without the study.

Conversely, a popular study by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton expresses that a higher income does improve your life but not necessarily your emotional well-being. It goes on to say that those with an annual income of $75,000 seem to have the best of both worlds (looking fondly on their life and associating quality with everyday experiences).

There is a point where money begins to no longer provide your well-being and seemingly starts to cause more heartache due to losing satisfaction or desiring more, which becomes a never-ending cycle with needing more money in order to satisfy your urges or new financial demands. Of course, this does also partially depend upon what is important to us as individuals in life and our desires. Is it money that really makes us happier? Or would more of something else solve all our problems?

A study published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal found some interesting data to this question.  The researchers at UCLA and Wharton School involved in this latest article (published May 25) found that roughly two-thirds of 4,400 people surveyed mentioned that they would prefer having more money over time. However, the one-third who chose more time were happier. This does come with gray areas, though, and raises a couple important questions.

Are people who want more time truly happier? Is it that not desiring more money makes them more content or is that they already have enough money so now they want more time to enjoy their income?

The researchers did use the $75,000 salary amount to evaluate questions such as these. When asking which was preferred, more time or money, to individuals with this base income, those who answered more time did appear to still have more happiness in their lives on average.

So, which is better? Time or money? Does one cause more happiness than the other? While still up for debate, it appears better to be in a situation where you have enough money to take care of all your needs and obligations in life while wanting more time rather than the other way around. Although, if you have minimal to no debt, money may be of little concern and, thus, more time may be better in those particular situations as experiences in life tend to fulfill us more, according to the study mentioned previously in this article.

There is definitely a difference between needing more money to better your financial situation and wanting more money for superficial reasons. At the end of the day, only you can determine what makes you happy. It’s all about creating balance, both with time and money.

What are your thoughts on the topic?