While my alma mater won't be handing out diplomas for another few weeks, many colleges have already celebrated the class of 2008 and sent them off with motivational words from someone accomplished. I'm not being called upon any day soon to make one of those parting speeches, but I do have some advice for new grads who are headed into their new exciting chapter that's also fondly known as the real world. To see what I think is important to keep in mind as a degree-holding new grad just read more.
- Whether you decide to travel after college or move home for a couple months while deciding where you'd like to pursue your first job, keep your goals in mind. It's easy to get sidetracked by other people and their ambitions, or lack thereof. Keep yourself on track by writing down your present and future goals.
- Live within your means, seriously. Now is the time for you to build a good credit history, so that when you're ready to buy a home in a handful of years you'll have the credit you need to get a good interest rate on your mortgage. I know, I know, mortgage is hardly a word on your mind right now. But the future should always be something you're keeping in mind.
- Perform an exhaustingly thorough job search. You want to get a job as soon as possible so you can bring in enough income to pay the rent on your new apartment, and sending out a résumé here and there isn't going to be enough. If you can't live off the savings you've established from working during college, do something to bring in some money while you're searching for that first job. I had friends who worked at a department store makeup counter in order to sustain themselves.
- Once you've been offered a position that you can picture yourself doing every day and will allow you to learn important skills to develop your résumé, make sure you research how much you should be paid for the job. I know that when you're offered that first job you think they'll retract their offer if you negotiate. The worst that can happen is they'll say no.
- Embrace your independence. Live off the money that you earn and try not to think of your parents as a fall-back option to bail you out. Remember the sense of freedom you felt when you first moved away to college? You get the same rush when you graduate and establish a new life for yourself.