Life after graduation can be … a lot.
You don't really appreciate the bubble of campus life until you step into the great unknown. One day you worry about studying for exams and writing papers, and the next day you worry about how to pay rent and put bread on the table.
It gets easier, but the transition is usually a bit bumpy. So it helps to do a little prep before graduation – these simple strategies will do it.
Fix your social media profiles
An inappropriate social media profile can ruin your chances of getting a job. After you graduate, make sure your profiles are private. Change your profile picture to something harmless, like a picture of you in a hat and dress.
Double check that there aren't any embarrassing public tweets or posts that could throw you in the hot water.
Start a LinkedIn profile, if you don't already have one, and list your academic and professional achievements and special skills. Network with other students, former professors and former supervisors. Ask for recommendations and endorsements. Follow companies you're interested in to be notified when they post a new position.
Check your credit report
Your credit report shows all of your past and current loans, credit cards, and other credit products. There are three different credit reporting agencies that produce credit reports: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Lenders, landlords, and even employers will review your credit reports to determine how responsible you are as a borrower.
Regularly checking your credit report will highlight errors or potential problems, such as: For example, a credit card that doesn't belong to you or a late payment on a long-forgotten loan.
Check your official credit report for free on AnnualCreditReport.com, which displays official credit reports from all three offices. You can check your credit report once a week free of charge until April 2022.
Monitor your balance more often and for free by creating a Mint account. Mint shows your creditworthiness and notifies you if anything has changed in your report. Your credit report is like a financial report card while a credit report is like a GPA. Credits range from 300 to 850, and anything over 670 is considered good. An excellent credit score that you need to secure the lowest interest rates is 750 or more.
Find and organize your student loans
If you're like thousands of college students, you graduated from college – with a high student loan balance. Managing your student loans will be one of your first post-graduate challenges, and there is no better time to start doing it than now. Use our free installment calculator to determine your monthly installment.
First, find your federal student loans by logging into the Federal Student Aid website. This shows all of your federal student loans, the minimum payment, the interest rate, and the total amount owed. If your parents have taken out federal loans that you are expected to repay, they can sign up through the same website.
If you have private student loans, visit each service provider's website and create an account if you don't already have one. Your personal loans should be listed on your credit report whenever you need a refresher.
After you've signed in, the site should list your next due date. In most cases, you can set up automatic payments from your bank account. This will ensure that you don't miss out on any payment that would lower your credit score.
If you're struggling to find work, apply for a respite from your private lender or switch to an income-based repayment plan from your state lender. Federal loans under an IDR plan have a $ 0 monthly payment if you are not employed.
Avoid using federal respite or forbearance unless you really need it. Borrowers are limited to three years for these programs, so it is best to save them for a real emergency. Private lenders also usually limit the number of deferrals on a loan. Before deferring any loan, check with the lender and ask if there are other options available.
Graduates without a job should start networking as soon as they graduate. Remember that applying online is not the only way to get hired. Making connections is a better way to learn about new positions.
Even though many networking events are still being postponed due to the pandemic, you can still reach people through LinkedIn. Send a short message explaining who you are and what connections you have with one another. People are more likely to react when they have something in common, like the same alma mater or sisterhood.
Ask former professors or bosses if they have any job search suggestions. Sometimes their advice leads to a useful tip that you can implement to improve your job search.
When someone agrees to meet you for lunch or coffee, always offer to pay and then send them a thank you card. Some professionals are constantly sought advice, so it is worth respecting your time.
Shyness doesn't pay off when it comes to getting a job, especially in a competitive environment. Don't be afraid to ask about vacancies or internships, even if you may not be qualified.
Pursue your interests
Even if you can't find a full-time job, you can still work on your career. Get an unpaid internship, start a freelance job, or join a professional in the industry. This also puts you in touch with more people who can help you find a full-time gig. Plus, it gives you something on your resume that could be more relevant to your industry than working part-time at a fast food restaurant or driving for Uber.
Freelancing on sites like Upwork and Fiverr can also help you build a portfolio that you can then share with potential employers. Start your own website that you can link on your resume or cover letter.
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Zina Kumok (128 posts)
Zina Kumok is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance. As a former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four, and everything in between. It has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth, and Time. Read how she paid off $ 28,000 in student loans at Conscious Coins in three years.