Graduating from college is a huge step! You are almost there and ready to join the ranks of the working world and get your first job. You put in four years of hard work, sweat and tears. You stayed up late, crammed as much as you could before the final exams and you finally get to walk across the stage to receive your college degree.
But, wait a minute.
You actually don't have a job lined up yet.
Not to worry! I have 4 tips to help you snag your first job after college so you can jumpstart your career.
How to Land Your First Job
Go To Your School Career Center
The first thing you should do is head over to your college's career center. There you will get help to tweak your resume and cover letter. You want to make sure that when opportunities come your way, you are ready. The career center is also connected with local organizations that want you! Businesses contact the career center on a regular basis to offer open positions just for graduating college students.
Call, Email, or Meet your Professors
Using this one technique, I landed an interview with a company that I never would have known about. There are companies that specifically ask professors and department heads for top talent. If you were smart enough to become friends with your professors or if you were memorable in some other positive way then you should make it a point to contact them for help. Call and tell them you are still looking for a position.
Join an Industry Specific Organization
I used this technique to get an informational interview with someone in my field. When you meet people in your industry and continue to learn about your field, more and more opportunities will be available to you. Make sure you have some personal business cards printed up. Focus on meeting 1 to 3 people at each function. Don't feel like you have to meet everyone there. It will make it easier for you to make a meaningful connection and keep in touch.
I Have a Job! How Do I Spend My Paychecks?
Congratulations! You finally landed a job! Before you do a happy dance, there are a few things you need to take care of to make sure you get started on the right financial footing.
Ok, maybe you can do the happy dance first.
Take Advantage of Free Retirement Money
The first thing that you want to do is to figure out if your company has a company match program for retirement. There are typically retirement options where the company will match your contributions.
Let's say that the match is dollar for dollar for every dollar that you put up to the first three percent of your salary. In order to claim your free money, designate three percent of your salary to contribute to your company sponsored retirement plan.
Start Saving for Emergencies
Think of that contribution as long term savings that you will not get to use until retirement. You still need some emergency savings. Set a goal to save at least ten percent of your take home pay. That is a principle that I learned from the book The Richest Man in Babylon and it's helped me so much.
That is the simplest way to budget. Start with your savings and then enjoy yourself.
Spend some money. You've earned it.
It's all about balance. It's all about what you want to do and what your personal financial goals are.
How did you land your first career position? Do you have any tips on how to budget that first paycheck?
This post was originally published for the PNC Achievement Sessions.