There are plenty of stories these days about how difficult it is to find a job after college and making ends meet after the student loan bills start rolling in. Many of the tales are true to some degree. But even if life after college can be a struggle, that doesn’t mean it is not something students can navigate if they are prepared. Here are five important facts to keep in mind when planning for life after graduation.\
Grades and Degrees Matter Less Than You Thought
Classes, homework and grades are very important in college, but once graduation day comes and goes, all that matter is that the student earned the degree. People moving on to grad school are the exceptions to this rule, of course, but for the majority of college graduates, finding a job hinges on opportunity and experience, not college grades. In fact, most people don’t get jobs in their field of study, at least not right away. Students should be prepared to look for positions in industries where they can get the skills they need to work in their chosen fields.
Get Used to Living on the Cheap
Few college students live a life of luxury. Most are scraping together pocket change to buy a packet of ramen for lunch. Students should expect that standard to living to continue after college. They likely will need to keep a roommate, and they should be looking for inexpensive apartments for the time being. Getting used to living on the cheap will be easier if the student can start pinching pennies during their senior year. That way, they will have some money saved up to sustain them during the job-search months after graduation.
Connections Are Key
The old saying “It’s good to know people,” is never truer than after college. The connections students make there could eventually be their bridge to landing their first job. This applies to professors, teaching assistants and other people in authority who can vouch for them as a reference on their first real job application. The people students grow close to during college may end up being friends for life, and they also can be important connections in the world of business as well.
Job Prospects Will Vary
Flexibility will be vital in the first few months after graduation. It likely will take a while to find a solid “grownup” job, but that doesn’t mean graduates shouldn’t be working. They should broaden their job search to include options that are tangentially related to the field they want to work in. They might even have to take several part-time jobs in order to support themselves during the hunt for employment. Again, gaining helpful skills is as important than adding to the “work experience” section of a resume.
Your Life Will Change
College life is casual, fun and relatively unstructured. All that can change after graduation. Students should cut back on the drinking and late nights and strive to get more rest. Hangovers are not good companions when headed to a job interview. Also, it is likely students will need to overhaul their wardrobe so they have a few outfits to wear during their job search. The clothes don’t have to be expensive, but they should be professional looking.
The adult world that greets college graduates can be a little cruel sometimes. However, students who are prepared for reality stand a better chance at ultimately finding a job and moving to the next stage of their lives.
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