3 Tips for College Graduates Entering the Workforce

Posted July 13, 2015 by
Group of graduates will face the modern city

Group of graduates will face the modern city. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

A 2013 survey by Citi and Seventeen magazine found that 80 percent of college students work a part-time job, averaging 19 hours per week. But the survey also found that only 18 percent are responsible for paying tuition, room and board.

Working a job to pay for spring break getaways and Friday night happy hours is much different than being responsible for every aspect of your life. Playing hooky from work because you’re hungover is no longer an option since those hours may be the difference between paying rent or not.

College graduation means complete independence for the first time for hundreds of thousands of students. If you are in this situation, here are three tips to ensure you get off on the right foot:

Make a Budget

A 2013 Gallup poll found that only 32 percent of American households make and follow a budget. Whether written in a spiral notebook or kept on an electronic device, a written budget keeps you organized and prepared for life’s little emergencies.

Smartphone applications like Mint and Acorns provide comprehensive data on your entire financial situation based on your income and monthly bills. Free budgeting apps like BillGuard and Wally offer basic information and itemizations based on the expenditures and earnings you enter. Either way you know when too much is being spent on morning lattes and too little on personal enrichment.

Secure Your Wealth

The Great Recession, beginning in 2008, cost retirement savers $2 trillion when the stock market crash wiped out numerous 401(k) plans. The most universal piece of advice given to investors is to always diversify your portfolio. Leaving money in a savings account that pays a fraction of one percent interest is neither intelligent nor prudent. The key to diversification is investing in non-dollar-based commodities.

Precious metals are a great way to own wealth completely and hedge your nest egg against inflation. Despite gold being way down from its mid-2011 peak of $1,889 per ounce, it’s still up 171 percent over the last 10 years, according to Gold Price. Likewise, according to Silver Price, silver is up 127 percent in that same time period. You also can buy bullion (coins and bars). However, exchange traded funds (ETFs) are essentially paper gold and silver, backed by nothing but a company’s word.

Whether you save and invest via the stock market, bank accounts or precious metals, extra steps are necessary to secure your wealth. Market research firm Javelin Strategy estimates there is a new identity theft victim every two seconds in the U.S. Pro-active protection is much more convenient than recovering from identity theft. Always shred financial documents before throwing them away, and make certain to always sign out of bank accounts, social media and other profiles on your phone and public computers.

Update Your Network

Cornell University estimates that 70 percent of jobs today are landed through networking. Millennials are perpetual job hoppers with an average tenure of only three years per job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It behooves you to treat social media more as an opportunity than entertainment. Keep in contact with all your classmates, co-workers and professors via LinkedIn. It’s also a good idea to refrain from posting personal opinions about controversial topics on Facebook and Twitter. Freedom of speech is unalienable, but it comes with consequences. A simple Google search of the terms “fired over Facebook” is all you need to remind you that the world is a different place in 2015.

Leaving college for the workforce is the right of passage from childhood to adulthood. You’ll learn most of it as you go along, but the aforementioned tips will steer you in the right direction.

Source: SocialMonsters

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