This article is part of a series called Graduating? which focuses on personal finance advice for fresh college grads.
Your exams are done! You’ve received your shiny (and very expensive) piece of paper – the one that tells the world you’ve got a head full of knowledge and a bright future ahead of you.
Time to get a job. The one that will start your career.
1) Clean up your act.
Guess what? The internet is the internet, and nothing is private. So clean up your social networking pages. Prospective employers DO check Facebook and Myspace, and they DO Google for your name. Maybe you’re lucky and have an extremely common name, but you should still Google yourself and see what comes up. And don’t assume that just because you’ve marked your profiles as private doesn’t mean they can’t be seen.
This is step number one, because you want your online image cleaned up before anyone looks for you! I know it might feel like you’re censoring yourself, but that’s a decision you have to make based on the industry you’re applying for. Think like an employer and look over your profile – what jumps out at you as a red flag for irresponsible, unethical, or lewd? Take it out.
2) Resume it up.
You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hates writing her resume as much as I do. Seriously. But I found a pretty handy guide on writing your resume, which I suggest you read through while you polish (or start!) your resume.
3) Think small, think local.
Big companies that you know the name of have a big draw, but don’t forget the little guys. Most of America is run by small businesses. Many city newspapers have their classified listed online now, so check the listings and Craigslist for the areas you want to live in.
4) Be persistent.
Send out your resume to a lot of companies – but be sure to follow up, especially with the ones that really excite you. Most advice on writing cover letters instructs you to write that you’ll call within a week. Do it. Hone all of you efforts into one goal: getting the interview.
5) Be frugal.
It might seem like you have to spend a lot to bridge the gap between graduation and your first job. But be smart about it. If you don’t have a job yet, move back home with your parents while you search (if you can). If you have to spend some money that you don’t have, credit cards may be the answer. BUT keep your spending really, really low. You don’t need the nicest suit in the city for your job interview, you just need one that’s clean and fits you well.
Even if you do have some money tucked away to bridge the gap, be smart with it. Just because you’ve got some cash on hand doesn’t mean these rules don’t apply to you! The more of your stash that you can hold on to, the better off you’ll be.
The next Graduating? topic will be preparing for taxes and evaluating benefits as you decide which job offer to accept!
Photo by thinkpanama