Tag Archives: Life After Graduation

Job Searching: Which Jobs to Apply For?

5 Apr

Searching for your first job out of college can be a daunting task. While it may seem like graduation is forever away, it’s actually right around the corner. Not only do you have to learn how to apply for your first real job, you have to figure out which jobs you even want to apply for. Between tweaking your resume and creating cover letters, you’ll quickly realize you can’t apply for every opening. With your limited time, you have to choose which jobs to apply for and what jobs end up being passed over. So here are five tips on figuring out which jobs you should be applying for.first job search post college advice.jpg

#1. Pick your priority

Figure out what your priority is when job searching. Many people won’t even consider job searching outside of the area in which they live, while others are looking for an escape. There are a lot of factors that go into figuring out which job you’ll want, and if you know what your #1 priority is, deciding whether or not to apply for a job makes it that much easier. Here are some different factors to help you find your priority:

  • Location – Many people are tied to one area due to family or their significant others. To them, relocating isn’t an option. Others would like nothing more than a change of scenery; therefore, relocating isn’t a problem.
  • Pay/ Salary – We all need money, but for some people the desire for high pay trumps all other potential priorities.
  • Opportunity for Advancement – Especially if it’s your first job, potential advancement opportunities can make a big difference, as you don’t have to switch employers for upward mobility.
  • Specific Job Field – This may seem like a given for your search, but if you found a job outside of your field that meet all your other requirements, would the field matter?
  • Benefits Package – Typically not the #1 priority, but flexibility, vacation time, healthcare, dental, daycare, or even student loan repayment vary greatly from one employer to the next.
  • Making a Difference – Not all jobs pay well monetarily, but instead rely more on the feeling of making a positive difference in the world.
  • Employer Size – Working at a major company has a lot of exciting benefits to some people. Or maybe you’d feel more comfortable in a smaller, more intimate type of setting?
  • Job Security – Getting that first job is no good if you are laid off right away. If this is your priority, you may be willing to compromise for a job with decent security.

#2 Remember, it’s your first job, not your dream job

If your first job happens to end up being your dream job, congratulations! For the rest of us who make an average of seven career changes in our working lives, the key to a successful first job is using it as a launching pad. Look for jobs that have advancement opportunities or marketable skills to help you propel yourself throughout your career.

You don’t want to end up in a job you hate, but it’s important to remember that this job can be a valuable experience to help land you your dream job down the road. This is especially true if you are leaving college without a lot of experience in your field.

Keep in mind that the salary will be entry-level, as well. Don’t be surprised if you’re not offered the median salary in your industry since you don’t have much, if any, field experience. If you do well, you can earn your advancement in pay or position by moving up within the company or with another employer.

#3 Know yourself

Before you accept a job, be sure that it’s a job you want and not one that parents, counselors, or friends want for you. Hopefully you have had enough life experience to know not only what your priorities are, but what equates to a deal-breaker for you. Does a typical 9-5 sound ideal or does working varied hours sound more appealing? Do you prefer to travel for work or would you prefer to be in the same location every day? Be sure it’s what you actually want or you could be back to job searching again before you know it. This job needs to fit your current lifestyle, not only the “what-if” scenarios you’ve considered for your future.

#4 It takes time (and it might be your job for a while)

Unemployment is not much fun after the first couple weeks, as concerns about being able to pay your bills—and eventually student loans—become reality. It takes time to fill out applications and tweak your resume for each job. Remember that until you find your full-time job, your job is to job search. It is exhausting applying for various jobs for eight hours a day, but it’s better than not being able to make your ends meet.

#5 Utilize your network

If you’re still in school, you’re going to want to take advantage of all those free lunches and other events put on to meet your professors and other staff. Not only do these people have connections outside of your college, they can also be great resources for the future. Talk to them and find out how they got their foot in the door! Don’t be shy about asking for an informational interview from these people. Many have a vested interest in seeing you succeed and will go out of their way to help you. Just be sure to make a good impression while you still can!

Entering Loan Repayment? Tips for Recent Grads

16 Nov

repay-banner

Whether you’re a recent graduate whose loans are just entering repayment or you have been making payments for several years, there is a very real chance that educational loan payments may be causing you a financial hardship. For recent graduates, there is a lot of info covered in federal exit counseling and it would be easy to have missed some of it.

Loan Servicer Navient has put together a list of their Top 10 Things to do Before You Make Your 1st Loan Payment. The key to successfully repaying your loans with any Loan Servicer is understanding your responsibilities as a borrower and the wide range of tools available to help you throughout repayment. Your Loan Servicer doesn’t want you to default and you definitely don’t want to default on your loans either!

While there isn’t much that can be done about the amount you owe since you’ve already borrowed it, you can still choose from several different options for repayment.  The Institute for College Access and Success created a Top 10 Tips for recent graduates, a handy reference for borrowers.

Unless you chose otherwise, you’re probably enrolled in the Standard Repayment Plan which spreads your payments evenly over 10 years. This is both the default plan as well as the most aggressive repayment option available. However, there are several other options a borrower can choose which can limit the repayment per month to 10% of  discretionary income and reduce payments to as little as zero dollars per month (depending on income). For more information, check out Acacia Squire’s piece in NPR about her experiences and what options may be available to you.

 

 

Lifestyle Inflation

18 May

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

hot air balloon; text overlay: Beware Lifestyle Inflation

You’ve graduated. Hooray!

You’ve landed a dream job. Hooray!

And best of all…that dream job comes with more money than you’ve ever had before and now you get to plot out how you’re going to spend all of your riches. You can finally get that car you’ve been eyeing (and ditch your old beater car). You can update your ENTIRE wardrobe because you can’t wear sweats/yoga pants to a real job every day. You can finally buy all organic food and eat out at great restaurants more often. You can get a great apartment with an extra bedroom…because why not? You’ve got money now!

But wait…If you do all of these things, then you’re quickly going to run out of money. And what’s the point of having a regular, decent income if you don’t actually have any money at the end of the month?

It’s important to remember that just because you can afford all of these things doesn’t mean you should actually buy all of them. You want to avoid the deathly trap of lifestyle inflation. Lifestyle inflation occurs when you’re making more than you were before and you spend accordingly (i.e. more money earned equals more money spent). But wait…that doesn’t sound too bad, right? Again though, it isn’t bad (and it may even be fun) until you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck just like you did in college.

If you’re making bank right out of college, invest some of it! Save for a big goal! Don’t starting spending like crazy because now you can buy all the stuff you ever wanted and didn’t even know you wanted. You’ll run out of money fast if you’re not careful.

So…how do you avoid spending every last dime of your new income?

Set a BIG Savings Goal

Now that you’ve graduated college you have more freedom to decide what to do with your time and since you’ve scored your dream job, you have money to play with. What’s something big you want to spend your money on? Some common things would include a house, a wedding, a vacation overseas, your dream car. Some uncommon options could include retiring early or starting your own business. Whatever your goal, own it! Save for it.

Spend Below Your Means

Don’t blow your money on pointless purchases. You don’t have to eat like a college student anymore, but you also don’t need to eat like a King. Maybe you can just have one roommate instead of three. Keep your spending low so that you have room to save your big goal.

Budget

This is what it all comes back to. You need to have a plan for spending your money. If you don’t have a plan for where your money is going every month then you’ll quickly run out of money before the month is up.

 

Do you have any tips for avoiding lifestyle inflation? Let us know in the comments below!

What Are You Doing After Graduation?

20 Oct

Amanda Locker, Majoring in Environmental Science at Purdue University
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

girl gazing at mountains

One of the scariest questions you can ask a college student is, “What are your plans after graduation?”  I mean come on some of us just figured out what to major in! There are many different paths that students decide to go down after graduation. The most common paths that students take would be working full-time or heading off to graduate school.

I’ve started thinking ahead (and laying out my 5- and 10-year plans) and discovered another option students have that many do not know about: volunteering with a service program. There are so many options with service programs like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. These programs aren’t for everyone, but there are many personal and educational benefits that volunteers get from these experiences.

I’m studying abroad next semester to get an intro to living abroad, so I’ll see how that goes and I may adjust my path from there. But right now, I am considering participating in the Master’s International program with the Peace Corps after graduation (Class of 2016!) because of my love for the environment and my passion for helping people. This program gives participants two incredible opportunities by studying for 1-2 years at a partnering college and then serving for two-years at a field project with the Peace Corps using the knowledge I just learned in my Master’s program. A field project is assigned to volunteers based upon the needs and requests of the countries that need help from Peace Corps volunteers. By the time volunteers are done completing their field project, they will have a master’s degree AND two years of international work experience!

Not only do volunteers get a degree and work experience but they also get lots of other benefits that could potentially help save some cash. In many cases, Peace Corps volunteers can qualify for reductions or cancellations on different governmental loans. The most common of these loans are the Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and the Federal Perkins Loan. My loans would qualify for deferment while I would be working overseas. Plus, there’s also the opportunity for participants to receive an education award that can be used to pay back part of their loans.

…but then again, I still have a couple more years to decide. What are your plans for after graduation? Let us know in the comments below!

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