9 Tips for College Grads

Key Takeaways

  • It’s important to get your spending habits, saving habits, credit history and professional reputation established from Day One.
  • Be flexible, diligent and polite in your early working years. Finish what you start, deliver on your promises and look carefully at your social circles.
  • Good career mentors are essential for accelerating your growth, connections and abilities in the working world.

It’s that time of year again when newly minted grads leave college campuses nationwide to enter the workplace. It’s never an easy transition, but I’ve got nine tips for college grads as they launch themselves into their new lives.

  1. Save first. Right from your very first paycheck, you need to be socking away at least 15 percent of what you earn. Sounds like a lot, but that’s the going rate right now to ensure you have enough put away for rainy days and retirement.
  2. Put a spending plan together. Be realistic about how much you really need to pay for your rent, bills, loans, entertainment expenses and must-have purchases. Spend within your means. Always think needs before wants.
  3. Establish credit. Get a credit card and pay it off in full each month. Establishing a good credit history will come in handy for future high-ticket purchases such as cars and homes.
  4. Pay off college loans. There are some higher-interest loans and lower-interest ones, and you might want to double up on the higher-interest ones first.
  5. Practice The Four Referability Habits. These are important parts of your reputation to establish from Day One: a) show up on time, b) do what you say you’re going to do, c) finish what you start and d) say “please” and “thank you” often.
  6. Choose your friends wisely. Our personalities are really a composite of the five people we hang out with the most. If you have friends who are not of your ilk, style and value system, then you may want to rethink your social circles.
  7. Be flexible. In any job market, especially today’s, you may not start out in a job that’s directly tied to your college major—even if you do, you may not like it. Don’t get so tied down to the job that you’re afraid to leave, especially if it’s making you unhappy.
  8. Choose a mentor. You might have many mentors in your life, but career mentors really help us accelerate our growth and abilities in the job world.
  9. Have fun. Really enjoy yourself in your job. Enjoy life. That’s what it’s all about anyway. Careers are important, but don’t take the new job too seriously.

Until next time, enjoy.

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