Too many recent college graduates find themselves in a standstill dealing with financial troubles, confused by career direction, and intimidated by their empty résumé.
Here are the 5 most common ‘No No’s’ that lead recent college graduates into the dreadful stalemate. Avoid the following and you will have a great chance of ‘hitting the ground running’ the moment you throw your graduation cap in the air.
1. Choosing convenience over being thrifty
College students are guilty of being lazy and have all the excuses in the world not to go the extra mile in order to save a couple dollars. But the money you can save really adds up and can set you up with a more favorable financial outlook once you graduate.
The campus bookstore is SO convenient but avoid it at all costs (no pun intended). The average student is spending $1000 on textbooks every year mainly because a large percentage of the student population is shopping at their campus bookstores. Save money buying/renting used books online (I used eCampus.com). You can easily save up to 50% on your textbook expenses. Just about everything in the campus bookstore can be found cheaper online or at an off-campus store. You can even find college apparel. You would be surprised how many outside vendors sell your university’s shirts, shorts, hoodies, etc.
Secondly, do not buy a meal plan. Go grocery shopping, cook at home, and treat yourself to a good restaurant meal every now and then. Colleges are guilty of over-charging on bulk-made/ordered foods and only provide the option to purchase expensive meal plans. Take for example the University of San Francisco. USF has thousands of students purchasing their $2,005 standard meal plan per semester. That works out to $401/month in their 5 month semester. In college, I got away with spending $150/month towards groceries and another $50 towards restaurants. I was spending half the money as the USF cafeteria patron, and arguably eating healthier and tastier food (my girlfriend could cook).
2. Taking out student loans from the government and bank without searching for an alternative
Two third of all students come out of college with outstanding debt. On average, the U.S college graduate walks across the stage with about $25,000 in debt.
Today, the student loan option is looking even more grim. Student loan rates are expected to double from 3.4% to 6.8% (more info in this Fox Business News Article)
The best alternative may only be a phone call/email away. More and more students have found the value of asking friends and family for student loans at incredibly affordable interest rates. Working with a close friend/family member to customize a loan is simple using a peer-to-peer lending site like LendingKarma. LendingKarma helps lenders and borrowers set up loan agreements, makes the loan legally binding, and sends out reminders of payments every step of the way.
3. Picking a ‘dead’ major
Choose your major wisely. Look for a major that is in high demand by employers today. Avoid picking dead majors like Latin, horticulture, or religion because the job market is not too promising in those fields (20 most useless college degrees).
Take a look a today’s trendiest degrees that are in high demand in today’s job market: Best Degrees For Growing Careers
4. Focusing on only getting good grades
There is nothing wrong with racking up straight A’s on the report card but too many college graduates get caught up with the letter grade rather than learning, exploring, and focusing on a subject that they could build a career upon. It is important to be proactive and learns skills that you feel will help you in future. So, take classes you are actually interested and don’t just study for the sake of the grade. Let your dream job serve as your motivation.
5. Ignoring your résumé till after graduation
Many college students do not start drafting their résumé until they graduate. Many times, it is not until college students begin writing their résumé do they find out how blank their résumé looks. Start NOW, if you haven’t already. Of course, job experience is a key component of a résumé so make an effort to find a part time position. Search for internships in industries you are interested in and gain hands on experience (internships.com is a great site to begin your search). Even if you end up serving food at a restaurant or folding clothes in a department store, you are learning about time management, teamwork, responsibility, independence, and the list goes on. No matter what job you land, employers can see the traits you possess to facilitate a job while being a full-time student.
Lastly, attend the free college résumé writing workshops offered at your college to hone your résumé writing craft. My college offered numerous résumé workshops that covered all the basics and revealed countless tips; some were even headed by top industry employers.
Best of Luck!
“Success occurs when preparation meets opportunity” – Henry Hartman
Jay is a marketing intern for LendingKarma. He is passionate about writing to share knowledge, inspire, and entertain.