Surviving Life After College Isn’t Easy
I recently started the journey of living life as a college graduate and one day something dawned on me. As I was in my room thinking about all of the hard lessons I had recently experienced I got the inspiration to create a series of articles logging the insights I’m getting to make life easier for anyone who is a recent college graduate or just someone starting their 20s. As time goes on, I’ll be creating separate articles on each of the subjects discussed below. I’d love your feedback in the comments section after reading this (or you can reach out to me on social media as well). The more feedback I get from you, my audience, the more useful these articles become!
Getting A Job: Using LinkedIn & Networking Events
It’s the best platform to apply for jobs. With a click of a button, you can send over your profile and resume to countless organizations who are hiring. When I got my job at ThomasNet, I submitted 162 applications in a day to get the opportunity for an interview — all through LinkedIn. And that took me only an hour and a half to do.
Networking is essential to getting a job. While you’re prospecting online, don’t forget also to put yourself out there in the real world. Opportunities come from your network, and if you’re not growing it — you won’t have any opportunities presented to you. I still get freelance gigs offered to me on a monthly basis because when people think of someone who can help them with their social media marketing, I’m one of the first names that come to mind. Below is a list of tips you can use when you begin networking.
- MeetUp & Eventbrite are your best friends. Use these platforms to make your event search easy and manageable.
- When going to networking events, have a clear objective. Who is that you want to meet? People have the issue of wanting to speak to every single person in the room, and that’s not the approach that leads to results. Having 1-2 meaningful conversations with people that you’ve done research on is what you should be aiming for. Look for group organizers and search for them on LinkedIn to find out more about what companies they are associated with. If you can’t connect with them at the event, thank them on LinkedIn after, letting them know you enjoyed the event and that you’d love to follow up and speak to them personally.
- Have a clear way to follow up. No connection works, regardless of who exchanges their business card with you, if you don’t have a clear “to-do” so that both of you follow up with each other. Grab a cup a coffee or grab lunch with them.
- Connect online, either on LinkedIn (preferably) or on another social media platform.
- Networking doesn’t work if you only meet with them once or twice. You want to see and connect with them at multiple events.
- DON’T ASK FOR OPPORTUNITIES. Seek to learn from your connections, the opportunities come from the growth of the relationship you create with your new connections.
Budgeting: The Best Way to Keep Your Sanity
Don’t learn this the hard way. 40% of every paycheck you get should be allocated to your savings and assets. I won’t go into too many details as far as which savings account would be right for you, but I would recommend using Acorns and Robinhood for your assets. Acorns allows you to save money based off of cents you allocate from purchases that get rounded up to the nearest dollar and Robinhood allows you to invest in the stock market by giving you specific companies to choose from. I always follow the rule of — only investing in companies that I am a customer of.
As far as creating a budget that works for you, I suggest just having money set aside for these essential categories (ordered in priority):
- Personal Care
- Phone Bill
- House cleaning products
- Gym or Yoga Membership
- Student Loans
- Credit Card
- Misc Expenses – Books, Movies, Bars, etc.
The online tool I use to track all of my expenses is Mint. They have a mobile app that can help me not only see if I’m spending too much money on one particular category, but it also gives me reminders of when my bills are due so I can plan ahead.
Food Shopping & Cooking: Do It The Right Way
Never go food shopping if you can’t get at least one item on sale, coupons are everything when it comes to saving money. Another great tip that is often overlooked is NEVER GO FOOD SHOPPING IF YOU’RE HUNGRY. You end up shopping with your eyes and ignoring the essentials on your list. I usually only purchase groceries to last me two weeks. Often, if you buy too much food, you can let things go to waste.
For cooking, regardless of what you’re making for dinner, one money saving tip I use is setting aside a portion of what I make in a Tupperware for lunch the following day. This is a habit I picked up from my Mother, and I don’t regret doing so. It’s helped me save 15% of my total food budget, which I’ve now allocated to my emergency fund.
Finding A Place To Live
I have come to the conclusion that there are only two rules you need to remember. The context for finding a room or apartment is different for everyone, but I find these two tips to be extremely applicable, regardless of the situation:
- See the apartment in person before discussing the logistics of payment.
- Move in with people you know or that a friend/family member can vouch for (saves you the stress of worrying whether or not your roommate is a crazy person).
Living With Roommates
As far as living with roommates goes, I suggest three things.
- Have a rotating chore list so everyone does their fair share of the housework.
- Always let each other know when you’re having guests over so there are no unpleasant surprises.
- Have a shared budget for groceries, it decreases the burden of having to worry about food.
The reason I haven’t put any advice in regards to living on your own in this article is simply because I don’t have that experience yet to give anything of value. Once I cross that bridge, I’ll create some content around that.
- Time Management: A 6-Step Guide For Millennials
- Getting a Job After College, Spec Work is The Best Method
- The 8 Health Habits Experts Say You Need in Your 20s
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