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Our Graduating College Experts

Elina Furman

Elina Furman

Consultant and author of The Everything After College Book...

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Andy Masters

Andy Masters

Author of Life After College: What to Expect and How to Succeed...

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Marcos Salazar

Marcos Salazar

Author and Founder of the Life After College Project

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There is Life After College Graduation

While you may be unhappy about living at home, there are benefits; you may not have to pay rent or utility bills, and this affords you the opportunity to stash away extra cash for future rent and student loan payments.

Whether you’re moving home or living on your own, expect to bear a greater responsibility for your finances. Peter Wallace, author of Life 101: Real World Skills for Graduating College Seniors, advises that graduates accept the “reality of rent every month along with dreaded utility bills” and maintain open communication with roommates about splitting responsibilities. In addition, it’s imperative to stay on top of school loan repayments and rein in frivolous spending. “Rent, student loan payments and credit card debt can easily swallow up an entry-level salary, so be careful,” Jackson warns. “Budget your money wisely.”

The Job Search

Possibly the scariest, yet most important thing to do post-graduation is to find a job. It will likely be the biggest hurdle you face in the first month. Both Jackson and Wallace agree that it’s to your advantage to start your job search early. If you don’t already have a career, your full-time job for the moment should involve finding one.

The first step should be creating a professional-sounding email address, because beergoggles@joopnet.com, won’t cut it. The second step involves revamping your online social networking profiles on Myspace.com and Facebook.com: If there’s anything you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see, fix it. In addition, re-record your outgoing voicemail message to sound professional and responsible.

The next step is to look good on paper; Wallace suggests that you fine-tune your resume and cover letter so you’ll be ready to spend your time sending applications out to companies of interest. He cautions against taking too much time off after college, because the longer you wait to enter the job pool, the less confidence you’ll have.

If you’re having trouble finding a job through the regular application process, tap into your network of friends, neighbors and relatives for assistance. “Ask if they would be willing to help in your career development,” Wallace advises. If you don’t know what type of industry you want to work in, ask your network about different types of jobs. “When you network, you’ll learn about a variety of jobs and you’re bound to find an area that interests you,” he adds.

Posted: 10/3/07