Life after college can be…many.
You don’t really appreciate the campus living bubble until you step out into the great unknown. One day you are worried about studying for exams and writing papers, the next day you will find out how to make rent and put bread on the table.
It gets easier, but the transition is usually a bit bumpy. This is why it pays to do some prep work before you graduate – make it happen with these simple strategies.
Repair your social media profiles
Having an inappropriate social media profile can destroy your chances of getting a job. After graduation, check that your profiles are private. Change your profile picture to a harmless one, like a picture of you wearing a hat and a dress.
Double-check that there are no embarrassing tweets or public posts that could splash you in hot water.
Start a LinkedIn profile if you don’t already have one, and list your academic and professional achievements and special skills. Connect with other students, former professors, and former supervisors. Ask for recommendations and endorsements. Follow companies you’re interested in to be notified when a new job is posted.
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 bureaus that produce credit reports: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Lenders, landlords, and even employers will check your credit report to see how responsible you are as a borrower.
Viewing your credit report regularly will highlight any potential errors or problems, such as 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 at AnnualCreditReport.com, which shows official credit reports from all three offices. You can check your credit report for free once a week until April 2022.
Monitor your credit more frequently for free by creating a profile Mint account. Mint will display your credit score and notify you when something changes on your report. Your credit report is like a financial report card, while a credit score is like a GPA. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, and anything above 670 is considered good. An excellent credit score, which you’ll need to secure the lowest interest rates, is 750 or higher.
Find and organize student loans
If you’re like thousands of students, you graduated college with a degree – and a huge student loan balance. Dealing with student loans will be one of your first challenges after graduation, and there is no better time to start than now. Check out our free site loan repayment calculator To help you determine your monthly payment.
First, find your federal student loans by logging in to Federal Student Aid website. This will display all of your federal student loans, the minimum payment, the interest rate, and the total amount owed. If your parents have federal loans that you are expected to repay, they can use this website to log in.
If you have private student loans, visit each server’s website and create an account if you don’t already have one. Your own loans should be listed on your credit report if you need a refresher.
After logging in, the site should list the next due date. In most cases, you can set up automatic payments from your bank account. This will ensure that you do not miss a payment, which lowers your credit score.
If you’re struggling to find work, ask for a deferment from your lender or switch to an income-driven payment plan from your federal lender. Federal loans under the IDR plan have a monthly payment of $0 if you are not employed.
Avoid using federal deferral or forbearance unless you really need it. Borrowers are limited to these programs for three years, so it’s best to save them for a real emergency. Private lenders also usually specify how often you can defer a loan. Before deferring any loans, contact the lender and ask if there are other options available.
Graduates who do not have a job in lineup should start networking as soon as they graduate. Remember that applying for jobs online is not the only way to get a job. Forming relationships is a better way to learn about new jobs.
Even if many networking events have been postponed due to the pandemic, you can connect with people through LinkedIn. Send a brief note explaining who you are and any connections you have. People are more likely to respond if you have something in common, such as the same parent university or sorority.
Ask professors or past bosses if they have any suggestions for a job search. Sometimes their advice will lead to helpful advice that you can implement to improve your job search.
If someone agrees to meet you for lunch or coffee, always offer to pay and send a thank you note afterward. Some professionals receive a request for advice constantly, so it pays to respect their time.
Being shy doesn’t pay off when it comes to getting a job, especially in a competitive field. Don’t be afraid to ask about job or training opportunities, even if you don’t qualify.
Pursue your interests
Even if you can’t find a full-time job, you can still work in your career. Get unpaid internships, start a freelance process, or remain a professional in the industry. This will also put you in touch with more people who can help you find a full time job. Plus, it gives you something to put on your resume that might be more relevant to your field than working part-time at a fast food restaurant or driving for an Uber.
Freelancing on sites like Upwork and Fiverr can also help you create a portfolio that you can share with potential employers. Start your own website which you can link in your CV or cover letter.
Zina Kumuk is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four, and everything in between. Featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Read about how she paid off $28,000 of student loans in three years at Conscious Coins.