Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Guest Post by Alexis Montgomery: Tips for College Grads

Post-Grad Planning In Uncertain Times

College has been going great, but you feel like you’ve barely settled in before the threat of graduation reared its ugly head. You’re supposed to be excited about sloughing off the bonds of institutionalized living, but if you’re being honest, you’re just not sure you’re ready to be out in the big, bad world. You need to establish a plan for after you graduate, but all you’ve come up with so far is “get a job” and “find an apartment”, neither of which seems to be magically materializing for you. So how can you form a real plan to get you through the coming days of life in the real world?

Well, unfortunately, you do have to find a job, and fast. The first and most important part of being an adult is paying your way, and it’s pretty hard to do without some form of gainful employment. But if you’re one of the many students who find yourself facing graduation with nary a job offer in sight, don’t despair. The outlook is not as bleak as you might think. Although our country is facing a recession, making new jobs scarce and the market competitive, there are still jobs to be had, if you’re willing to compromise. Having trouble finding an editing position despite the fact that you won an award with your senior film project? Well, you can always do what so many in the entertainment industry have done before you and opt for a night job as a waiter or bartender. But you just got out of college, you need a serious job! What these jobs can offer you is neither prestige nor good pay, but rather, free time to find another job. Since many offer flexible schedules, it leaves you open to go to job interviews during the day (when most of the real world does business) or try your hand at freelancing. There is a wealth of contract work available for those with the drive to seek it out. You can also look into internships, which could lead to more lucrative employment. The point is, it’s better to have a job for now and keep looking for something better than to end up living in your parent’s basement. And never underestimate the possible benefits of staying in contact with colleagues and friends. This network can become your best resource for finding a job in the future.

Another thing you will have to plan for, once you’ve got a job, is your finances. Those student loans you took out will soon return to bite you, so start budgeting immediately for what is sure to take a rather large chunk of your paycheck each month. Some careful planning in this area could save you a lot of aggravation in the future. If you’re not sure where to start with planning a budget, ask your career counselor. They can direct you to a service on campus to help you out or recommend outside financial planning firms that cater to college students. There are many resources at your disposal, especially while you’re still on campus, so find them and use them to your advantage.

Alexis Montgomery is a content writer for Online Degrees, where you can browse through various online degree programs to find a college that suits your needs.

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