Planning for the Future: 6 Ways to Get Ahead When You’re a Recent College Grad Reply

If you’ve recently graduated from school, now is the time to start thinking about the future. You might be focused on landing that dream job, but what happens after that?

It’s important to think about this stuff as early as possible because finances can be a major source of stress further down the road. In some cases, those who haven’t carefully planned find themselves depressed (or worse). Having a plan in place will reduce your stress level and allow you to stay motivated, so take time to sit down and think about what your goals are. Financial planning may not be fun, but it’s a necessary part of life. Talk to people who have lived through it–your parents, grandparents, or an older friend–and get some advice on where to begin.

After that, use these 6 tips to start planning for the future

1. Explore your options

Now is the time to figure out what you really want when it comes to a job, a house, and a stable future. Do you want to do some traveling? Start saving for retirement? It’s all possible, but now is the time to strike. Look at your career options and don’t be afraid to take some risks.

“Your 20s really are the time to explore. Before you get married and before you have kids, you don’t have a lot of financial responsibilities,” says author Jean Chatzky.

2. Consider living rent-free

If it’s an option, consider living with your parents or other family members just after graduation. This is a short-term situation that could help you save money for a car or your first place. Just remember to stay motivated where money saving is concerned, otherwise you’ll get a little too comfortable and it will be harder for you to get out on your own.

3. Watch your credit

Your credit score might not mean much now, but when you’re ready to buy a house or a car, it will be a very important part of your life. If you have student loans, start paying them off as soon as possible and add a little extra to your monthly payment to get ahead. Credit cards should be used for big purchases or emergencies only to avoid running up debt. Taking care of your credit now means you’ll have much more stability in the future.

4. Make saving automatic

Saving money is much easier if you don’t even have to think about it, so consider investing in a 401(k) plan that your employer takes out of your paycheck. This means you’ll have a plan for retirement that requires no effort on your part, and since it’s taken right out of your check you won’t even miss it.

5. Have a backup plan

Even if you’ve already secured your dream job, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan just in case. Keep your resume updated and make connections with other people in your field so you can always have an ear to the ground. Even the best jobs can come with nasty surprises, or you may find that you just don’t enjoy it as much as you thought you would.

6. Earn extra money

Whether you already have a day job or are trying to score one, it may be necessary to earn a little extra money now and then, so consider putting your skills to use as a tutor, a babysitter, or a dog walker. You can start your own business making jewelry, or maintain a blog that earns money through ads.

Saving and planning for the future doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience; start with a plan and talk to some people who have been through it already to gain some insight. After that, it’s just a matter of staying focused.


Gloria runs WomenLed.org, which celebrates women’s achievements in the workplace and beyond. She believes that while women have made many advancements toward “shattering the glass ceiling,” there is still much to be done. It is her aim to help increase the number of women-led businesses by educating others about the topic.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Women: Advance your Career before Donning the Cap and Gown Reply

For most college students, graduation can’t come soon enough. This is especially true for young women eager to show the men of the world that they are every bit as capable in their chosen careers. However, in a time when employment rates are at historic lows, snagging a position is easier said than done. On average, bachelor’s-degree-holding young adults job hunt for six months. In male-dominated industries, such as construction and finance, that search can last considerably longer.

According to Kiplinger Editor Janet Bodnar, teenagers have difficulty walking into entry-level opportunities as many experienced candidates vie for positions. But there are things you can do right now to improve your chances of walking the line and then straight through the doors of your dream job.

Scout for prospective jobs once you decide on a major

There is no need to wait until your diploma is in hand to put your feelers out and see what types of jobs are available for people with your degree. Many colleges offer student-run consulting groups to help students in each industry pick the perfect profession. As well, you can check your campus placement office and local job listings monthly to see what’s out there. If you’re not yet ready to apply, at least file away in your mind companies you might like to target later on.

Choose your major wisely

It is not simply enough these days to hold a degree in an open-ended discipline, such as philosophy or liberal arts. In order to secure the highest-paying positions, you must pick your major strategically. Degrees in technology, public relations, and marketing are in high demand. These skills can be used across a breadth of industries, making you more hirable than other candidates.

Network early and network often

Yes, even college students – and in some cases high school students – should have a professional networking profile for use on social media sites, such as LinkedIn. However, while online networking may be most comfortable, you should also join organizations where you can make personal contact with hiring managers and other professionals who can help you get your foot in the door. If you’re getting close to graduation and have a city in mind, it’s a great idea to spend a week or two there, set up shop, and schedule a few interviews in advance. Immersing yourself in a networking community will connect you to a group of knowledgeable industry veterans and create new opportunities and experiences related to your chosen field.

Don’t ignore the power of an internship

Real-world experience in your desired profession goes a long way, especially when coupled with proven academic prowess. When looking at candidates with identical degrees, most hiring managers will grant a coveted interview with those who’ve proven they can perform their desired job.

Work on your soft skills

Soft skills, those that don’t seemingly affect your job, are vital to your overall success. Things such as communication and customer service skills can lead you further down your chosen career path.

Job hunting tips

Before you ever go to your first interview, it is important to polish your face-to-face skills. Go ahead and outfit your wardrobe with a few key pieces, including some classic black pumps, which pair well with any outfit. Make sure you know exactly what the company does and what the role requires. Don’t ask the interviewer questions that you could’ve easily found the answer to on your own. Instead, show a genuine interest in the culture of the company. Speaking of the interviewer, make sure to remember their name(s) – there is nothing more embarrassing than calling your future boss Carol when her name is Cindy. Be polite, courteous, and succinct in your answers. Maintain an air of professionalism at all times…even while sitting in the waiting room. Finally, don’t be afraid to tell the interviewer that you believe you are a strong candidate, that you’re interested in the position, and that you would welcome the opportunity for a second sit down session.


Gloria runs WomenLed.org, which celebrates women’s achievements in the workplace and beyond. She believes that while women have made many advancements toward “shattering the glass ceiling,” there is still much to be done. It is her aim to help increase the number of women-led businesses by educating others about the topic.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Words and Phrases to Take Off of Your Resume for Next Semester Reply

By: Francine Fluetsch, Uloop

As we begin to enjoy our winter break, we start to find that we might have more time on our hands than we know what to do with. Sure, this is your time to relax and do nothing for some of the days, but it’s also a good idea to use some of your time away from school to get some work done.

Young smiling man holding his resume applying for a job

Young smiling man holding his resume applying for a job

A great place to start would be tidying up your resume for next semester. Maybe you want to get it ready for an internship, a new job, get it ready for graduation, you name it!

Now, “tidying” seems like such a broad term, so where should you start? Well, once you have all the content that you want on there, it’s time to go through the editing process. You want to make every word count, and exchange some words that employers just don’t want to see on there.

Let’s look at some examples so you’ll be able to avoid these wordy mistakes and, as a result, make your resume the best that it can be.

Clichés:

Think about it: hiring managers have to look at hundreds of resumes, so they will start to see patterns of common things that potential employees like to put on their resumes to supposedly “stand out.”

The problem is, if you are using clichéd job terms like “I’m a hard worker,” you are putting down what hundreds of other people are, and by doing so, aren’t standing out.

Instead of putting the words “I’m a hard worker,” show this! It’s the same thing that we writers are told again and again — you need to show, not tell.

I found some helpful guidance in this article by Rachel Gillett. She quotes Mary Lorenz, a corporate communications manager at CareerBuilder, who sheds a bit more light on this subject.

“Anyone can say they are ‘best of breed,’ a ‘go-getter,’ a ‘hard worker,’ or a ‘strategic thinker,” making these terms unoriginal, and ultimately, hindering you more than they will help you.

Lorenz continues, “Employers want to know what makes the job seekers unique, and how they will add value to the specific organization for which they’re applying.”

This again is alluding to the fact that you need to demonstrate your worth, not just write a clichéd sentence about it.

Superfluous words:

My partner was taking an online career class, and they discussed how when you are writing your resume, you should always use active verbs when describing yourself and your experiences. I’d never really thought about it before, but it makes a lot of sense. It gets to the point of what you have accomplished, and doesn’t cloud your resume or confuse the hiring manager about what your previous positions actually entailed.

Alyssa Gelbard, founder and president of Résumé Strategists, says that superfluous words like “responsible for,” “oversight of,” and “duties included,” unnecessarily complicate and hide your experience. To avoid this, she too suggests the use of active verbs.

Ex: Replace: “Responsible for training interns” with “Train interns.”

This will save room on your resume, so you can pack everything in, and will show hiring managers exactly what you want to show them.

Team player:

Business Insider and Forbes both agree that this cliché has got to go. Obviously you need to be a team player, or you won’t get the job, but you need to show your team playing ability, not just type those words and call it good.

An article in Forbes, by Nick DeSantis, suggests the following.

“If your intention is to communicate how well you work with others, giving examples of your roles within collaborative projects will be far more impressionable on a resume.”

Again, showing, and not telling, will help you land the job and look more impressive.

Self-motivated:

Everyone likes to put that they are self-motivated on their resume (guilty as charged), but what weight does that hold? In order to receive a job, this quality should be a guarantee, not a resume booster. What I’m saying is, you want to use the space on your resume to highlight your initiative and work ethic, rather than just saying you are self-motivated. It won’t help you stand out and it is not specific enough or defining in any way. The more you know, right?

Proactive:

The Forbes article also recommends taking the word “proactive” out of your resume. Being proactive is great, but highlighting it to your potential employer doesn’t do all that much because, like being “self- motivated,” this should be a no brainer, and will be a quality that everyone who lands a job will have, thus making it pointless to attach on your resume.

These are just a few examples on what to avoid on your resume when you are polishing it. Bottom line, you need to be specific, give examples, be unique, and think like a hiring manager to avoid clichés. Good luck!


Visit uloop.com for more college news and to search for off-campus housing, tutors near campus, jobs for college students, and more.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Your “After College” Survival Guide: How to Survive as a Fresh College Graduate Reply

Saving for educationBeth Bowman graduated college bubbling with excitement. She had accrued over $25,000 in student debts, but it didn’t matter because she felt she was pursuing a degree that will help her land her dream job of being a cultural consultant for a non-governmental organization. Now out of college, she was excited about her prospects.

However, Bowman soon realized the hard way that we don’t live in a perfect world. After sending about 500 job applications — to which she got no response — she now manages at a job as a policy administration specialist, a job that does not require a college degree.

Bowman’s story isn’t an isolated example.

Statistics from Pew Research Center show that it is becoming increasingly harder for college graduates to find good jobs: a whopping 44 percent of college graduates work at jobs that don’t require a college degree, and 20 percent of college graduates work in low-wage jobs that pay below $25,000. That obviously doesn’t justify today’s average student debt of $37,172.

Here are some survival tips to help you cope as a fresh college graduate:

  1. Make Preparations before Graduating College: Considering the difficulties in getting quality jobs faced by college graduates today, it is best to start making preparations before graduating college. Research shows that employers still value job experience — and having experience as a paid intern makes things even better.

The good news is that you don’t have to be out of college to get relevant job experience. You can still intern while in college; look for relevant organizations that have internship organizations for you while you’re still in college, and slowly build up your work experience. By the time you graduate, you don’t have to be disadvantaged due to lack of work experience.

  1. Get Creative About Job Applications: As a fresh graduate, don’t assume that you can get hired by applying to advertised jobs. Some sources show that up to 80 percent of jobs are unadvertised.

Instead:

  • Regularly reach out to family and friends to inquire about unadvertised job openings they know of.
  • Avoid having your life story on your cover letter. Research shows that recruiters spend less than 10 seconds going through it. Keep your cover letter short and simple.
  • Don’t ignore the internet in your job search. Apparently, 80 percent of recruiters have hired people through LinkedIn. Create and polish your LinkedIn profile.
  • Don’t just wait while you try to get hired. Take advantage of technology to accelerate your prospect of getting hired: you can start a blog or create a simple website. Case studies abound of people who got hired through their blog/website, and many said employers were wowed more by their blogs than by their degree.
  1. Pursue Side Jobs and Alternate Career Options: Many college graduates wait for years, sending hundreds of job applications, without getting their dream job and spending all that time doing nothing. This eventually leads to depression.

Get creative about other ways to earn while looking for your dream job. You can easily find side jobs that will help you sustain yourself while pursuing desirable job opportunities; income from these side jobs reduce pressure on you and help cater to some of your day to day responsibilities.


About John Stevens

John Stevens is an entrepreneur and founder of HostingFacts.com, an online portal that reviews web hosts. He is a regular contributor to Standford’s blog, Business Insider, Entrepreneur.com and other major publications. Follow him on Twitter @hostingfactsj.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

What’s Next After Graduation? Looking for Your First Job 1

Congratulations, you’ve graduated from college! But now that you’ve gotten your diploma, what’s next?

Step one: Find a job.

If you haven’t found a job and you are already into the summer of your graduation, then it is time to update your resume, apply for a number of jobs that you qualify for, and prepare for the professional interviews that are to come.

When building your resume, be sure to research as much as you can online from a variety of different sources. Trends in hiring can, and do, change quite often, which means it is vital for you to be able to create a resume that will highlight your skills and experience and get noticed by potential employers. A resume is a bit like an elevator pitch of your accomplishments. Keep in mind keywords, format, length, readability, relevant experience, and anything else that will show hiring managers what value you can bring to their company.

Depending on your degree, stay open minded about the types of jobs you apply to. Look for work that has decent starting pay, is generally in your desired career field, and offers you a chance to gain quality experience and learn from your employer. You may be sick of learning, but college and work are two completely different worlds. Getting an internship at a company where you want to work is also a good way to get your foot in the door.

Never pass up the opportunity to work under experienced professionals that can mentor you and give you valuable skills to put on your resume for your next job. Believe it or not, only around 27 percent of college graduates find a job that is directly related to their major, according to the US Bureau of the Census. What this means is the bulk of your skills will come from on-the-job experience, so finding an employer that will help you grow is essential.

No matter what your goals are, the most important part is to keep an open mind. You never know what sorts of opportunities will present themselves. Fortune favors the bold, so get out there and start applying.

Important Tips for the Recent College Grad Reply

The late nights cramming for finals is over; you’ve put your cap and gown away…yes, you’ve survived college and it’s time to enter the real world.  Now before you start picking out the Ferrari or the McMansion, the first thing you’ll need to do is find a job.  While you’ve likely taken some type of employment seminar, nothing in the real world is ever textbook.  Below are important tips that I believe every new graduate should follow.

Network, network, network!  Like most recent graduates, your network is likely more limited than those who’ve been in the workforce for several years.  One thing to remember, especially in a tight job market (and even in a great market) is that many times the old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” does hold some truth.  Sure, you still need to be qualified, however it never helps to have someone on the inside.  So how does one network?

  • LinkedIn– not your traditional networking, however this is one social network you don’t want to dismiss!
  • Connect/converse without limits– don’t sell your network short by networking with only those who can help you achieve your goals. Be open, honest and genuine with everyone- it’s amazing how small the world is and karma has a way of coming back to find us.
  • Listen- don’t just listen for opportunities in the ‘now’, listen to what those around you say. What makes their job difficult?  Is that something you can fix?  If you’re able to connect these dots the opportunities afforded to you will be many.

Concentrate on that Resume!  A resume, by Webster’s own definition, is simple- it’s a personal summary.  So why not skip all the theatrics, slap together a few blurbs around your experience and start getting those applications out the door?  The reality is that for each position you apply for, there are hundreds, if not more, other people trying to get the coveted interview.  Now you don’t need to ship your resume off with glitter ink, watermarks and neon orange paper (unless the position calls for quirky or gaudy), however you do need to make sure that the content of your resume is organized in a manner that easy to digest.

  • Styles- make sure the overall style of your resume plays to your strengths. As a recent graduate you will want to focus on the skills and knowledge that you’ve just earned.  A narrative focusing on how those courses and any extracurricular activities relate to the position at hand may be the best way to go.
  • The little things– even the most perfect resume in the world is quickly derailed by spelling and grammar errors. Unless you’ve broke out the quill and ink vial, give the spellchecker a click and then make sure you give it a once over- if possible find another set of eyes to review.  Don’t be that guy…or gal who fails to heed this advice!
  • Customize- unless you’re applying for the same position at the same organization over and over again, you should have more than one resume. In fact, you should make sure that each resume is suited and tailored for each position which you apply.
  • Keywords- make sure your resume is filled with keywords, this will ensure your resume will make it through the applicant tracking system. Often, keywords are simply job titles, skills, certifications and so on. I would suggest making a list of your targeted jobs and review the job posting and make a list of what terms or keywords appear many times, as this will give you an idea of what to use in your resume.

Beyond these tips, remember that even in the greatest of economies it takes time to land that perfect job.  If you’re not getting much traction in the way of interviews, consider using a professional resume writer.  They’re often able to help punch past that first layer and help land the interview.  In the end, remain positive and be persistent as you follow your dreams.

 

Michelle Kruse has more than 10 years of hiring and recruiting experience and a background in coaching and leadership development. At ResumeEdge, Michelle recruits and hires resume writers, provides training and ongoing support, manages strategic partnerships and serves as a subject matter expert on the job search process.

The CLA+ Exam and What It Could Mean Reply

dv1644022Forbes just today posted a new article about the CLA+ exam, and what it could mean for accountability in higher education. You can find that article here. It’s a relatively positive take on the CLA+ and what it could do.

Here, let’s talk a bit about some of the potential issues with the CLA+ and how it could affect college education in the future.

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