4 Important Next Steps for College Grads

You’ve survived exam weeks, all nighters, last-minute assignments, and the mania of graduation, but now its time to enter the real world. There are several really important first steps you have to take once you’ve graduated to make sure you’re on the right track towards getting your dream job and being a successful adult.

Assess Your Finances

After your degree, the most important step is getting in control of your finances and knowing where you stand. If you took out student loans, make sure you know how much you owe and how much is due per month. If you graduated college with a huge stack of extra textbooks like many grads, you can trade these in for money at places like Campus Books to give you a quick financial boost. You’ll also need to establish a budget. Check out how much the median rent and utility amounts are in your dream city, plus how much you usually spend on transportation and food, and how many months you’ll be able to afford while searching for a job.

Update Your Wardrobe

The days of comfy t-shirts and jeans are behind you. You’ll need to get an updated wardrobe for interviews and your job if you want to stay competitive. You don’t have to blow tons of money at an upscale store, though. Scour local resale shops; they oftentimes have trendy and gently used professional wear that will help you make an excellent first impression during your interview and beyond. Consider purchasing versatile pieces that you can mix and match so you can create new looks without having to blow your budget. A simple blazer, khaki pants, and a few ties or pieces of jewelry can go a long way to class up your current wardrobe.

Find A Job

Image via Flickr by Nottingham Trent University

Not quite as simple as it sounds, finding a job after college is one of the biggest challenges recent graduates face. An excellent place to start is your school’s career center. Most career centers don’t require current enrollment to work with you, which makes it an invaluable tool for both recent graduates and current students. Career centers can help you update and refresh your résumé or curriculum vitae, practice interviewing, and discover new resources for expanding your job search.

If you have an ideal location for relocating to, browse local jobs before you take your search nationwide. Make sure you résumé is updated before you begin your job search, and keeping a running list of places you’ve applied can help you keep organized.

Write A Killer Cover Letter

Cover letters can make or break a job application, especially in today’s job market. Keep it to a page, and keep it personal; really let your voice shine through! Discuss exactly what makes you qualified for the job without relying on common words like ‘organized’ or ‘team player’ — give examples over bland adjectives. The cover letter is often what makes a first impression, so it’s important that it’s a strong example of what you can bring to the table.

Navigating the post-graduation world can be scary, but so long as you stay organized and motivated, you’ll be able to get on your feet in no time!

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