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Adulting Career Transition

Why LinkedIn is Essential for College Students

May 17, 2022

LinkedIn is growing in popularity among Gen Z, and it’s setting off a wave of envy and fear of missing out for some college students who worry they’re behind—even if they aren’t yet in the workforce.

  • The key to using LinkedIn effectively is to create a detailed and engaging profile.
  • Learn and use basic etiquette when sending messages and making connections.
  • Don’t neglect LinkedIn; update your status regularly and explore job postings.

Stop worrying about work experience and connections. After college, as you get more experience with internships and a job, those sections will naturally fill themselves out. For now, follow these 8 steps to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile.

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Career Student Life Transition

The Reality of How to Find a Job After Graduation

April 28, 2022
College Student in Cap and Gown

Classes have finished, graduation is over, your stuff is all packed, and a little taste of reality has finally started to set in.

You’ve probably seen at least half a dozen articles about how to find a job after college. Those tips and tricks may help you get your foot in the door of what may be your dream job! After all, going to college to get that degree to eventually work in the field you worked toward is the goal, right?

Take it from a recent college grad: the job hunt can be tricky and overwhelming when first out of college. It’s not as easy as applying to as many jobs as possible. Read on for some tips on how to navigate the job hunting world in ways not a lot of people talk about.

Keep a supportive and encouraging inner circle.

Similar things tend to gravitate to one another, and it’s important to find comfort in those who are empathetic and understanding about what you are going through. Graduating without a role lined up is a challenge all on its own, let alone dealing with people who aren’t supportive.

Being unemployed isn’t easy, especially with a degree. It can feel hopeless and frustrating to watch your peers quickly start their careers while you are still getting yourself set up. It can feel like a swift kick in the gut when your inner circle of those you trust does not support you when you are feeling down. Be mindful of who you are speaking with when sharing your insecurities and fears.

It’s crucial to make sure your close friends lift you up, not down, supporting your aspirations and motivating you, not discourage you. You’ll need their positive energy if the search doesn’t go quite as you planned. Phases of self-doubt when looking for your first role out of college will come, and it may be hard to talk to some of my friends who just don’t understand what you are feeling – and that’s okay! Just let them know that you require some encouragement or look elsewhere for some.

Evaluate how you’re spending your free time.

It may be very tempting to want to put off finding a job at all after graduation. You finished classes and deserve a break! But time is valuable and many employers look to recent college grads to fill positions in May, June, or July. If you delay this, you may have to wait to find a job with winter grads.

Don’t turn into a lump on a log, wasting away watching hours of TikTok in your PJs. You are capable of so much more than you may realize- you have a degree, you have dreams, and you can start chasing them! Get strong both mentally and physically to get the best position for you.

It’s okay to take a short break to recoup after finishing your degree, but don’t let yourself develop bad habits. It can be tough on your mental and physical health if you let yourself wander too far off the beaten path of structure that college provides. But a self-care day is needed every once in a while.

Spend your time doing things you love and learning more about your passions; never stop learning and growing. Read, write, paint, or exercise to keep your body and mind active. You will feel better, be more alert, and more prepared to take on opportunities when they come to you.

Work toward your dreams, no matter how big they are.

Dreams and goals are not supposed to be easy or obtained overnight. It’s okay if they are a little scary or seem too far out of reach.

Sure, it may seem like the odds are against recent grads, but the good news is that you won’t be a recent grad forever. The journey will be tough with roadblocks you never saw coming, but in the end, it will all lead you where you are meant to go. If you clearly define the goals you have for yourself and believe in them, the struggle will all be worth it!

Dreams take time. Whether it’s getting an internship, starting out at the very bottom, or realizing a role you took was just not meant for you, you’ll get there. With one foot in front of the other, take steps towards your goals, starting at the beginning and working your way up. If your dream is to be a VP at a company, that job title won’t come right away, or even for several years. But know that even entering the company as

You are your biggest fan and fiercest advocate.

No one has your back like you do, so learn to be your biggest cheerleader. Even if you think it’s impossible, never stop believing in yourself because you can do far more than you think you can. Never stop working on getting better; in life, work, your hobbies, everything! We are our worst critics and letting doubt and fear of failure hold us back most of the time.

The only thing in the way of you going to the next level is you.  Be the person you dreamed you could be, and don’t stop until you get there. Even if it seems like it may be too hard, never stop fighting for yourself. You owe yourself that much after spending years of your life working and learning to earn that degree.

Life after college is a whole new ball game. With new things happening simultaneously, it can get overwhelming. It’s okay to take time to get your footing and make a plan as you start this new phase in life. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so understand that life is a process and everything will work out. You got this!

Student Life Transition

Finding the Good in New and Challenging Situations

April 26, 2022

We’ve all been told that life is a challenge. It can throw you curve balls that you would have never imagined possible, but somehow we all manage to pull through. Although, not always in one piece.

As you move from one phase of your life to the next, you may be experiencing a number of changes:

  • Moving cities or even states.
  • A new job (maybe even your first full-time gig).
  • A boatload of new responsibilities.
  • New friends (or loss of them).

Young adults are inevitably going to trip and fall… A LOT. It’s easy to get discouraged from what may feel like constant letdowns, but remember: It’s okay. Follow these steps for finding the silver lining even in the roughest situations.

When the Going Gets Tough, Be Positive

The energy you put out there is the energy you’ll get back. If you are consistently focusing on the negativity, it will always find you. There will always be something gloomy in life, work, and school, but it is vital to not dwell on those things for too long before trying to find the positive. If you didn’t get the result on a test, you thought you would look for the positive instead of sitting around and moping about it. If something can’t be made positive, try to neutralize it instead.

Failure Can be Good

Our lives are made up of a series of mistakes and the lessons we learn from them. We aren’t born knowing how to walk, talk, read or write. By trial and error, we develop these skills and eventually can’t remember a time we didn’t know how to do them. Unfortunately, the difficulties we face get harder and harder as we get older.

When we make a mistake, big or small, the easiest thing to do is to talk down to ourselves or dwell on all the little clues we missed leading up to this unfortunate event. But remind yourself that we are always learning and growing. Of course, we are going to make a mistake at some point in our lives or another! Whether it’s during the first week on the job, or the first time you have to manage your own finances, you will probably make a mistake. And maybe make many of them. We don’t walk into the world and suddenly have everything figured out. The most important part is learning from those mistakes and ensuring they don’t happen again.

Making an error and failing is an essential piece to mastery. Embrace it.

Be Kind to Yourself

When something negative affects us, it is crucial to accept ownership of what happened, but to also quickly move into a more optimistic headspace. At the same time, it can be comfortable to turn to self-doubt and blame when we do something wrong. We’re only human; we are bound to mess up, but the important thing to remember is that we are not an accumulation of our failures.

Research has shown that talking positively to ourselves, especially when we are at our lowest, is key to overcoming our fears and vital to our mental health.

Some benefits of positive self-talk are:

1. Reduced Stress

Individuals who think optimistically are also more prone to positive self-talk and use more dynamic coping methods when faced with stressful situations and challenges. Positive self-talk helps you challenge the way you look at stressful situations by helping you understand that you will meet them to the best of your ability and that no matter what happens – you did the best you could. Tackling these situations with an ‘I can do this‘ mindset rather than a negative ‘This is too hard‘ opens up new ways of thinking and problem-solving.

 2. Increased Confidence and Resilience

Most of us have experienced the little voice in the back of our heads telling us that we aren’t good enough, but tackling life with a positive self-talk policy can help to boost your self-confidence. Above anyone else, you should be your biggest fan! Frequent positive affirmations will help you feel more confident when facing your fears and achieving your dreams. You instill yourself with the belief that the things you want are achievable, and when situations do arise, you are prepared to handle them head-on. 

3. Stronger Relationships

We all know how it feels to be around someone so bright, full of confidence in themselves, and loves to spread genuine joy. They ooze enthusiasm that bleeds into everyone around them. Positive energy is contagious, so if you bring out the best in yourself, you will also bring out the best in others. 

With all of the challenges college students face, finishing college may not be on the top of the priority list. GradGuard is here to help you find some positivity in what may be some unfortunate circumstances. Insurance provides peace of mind before the unexpected happens, such as having to withdraw from school for a covered medical reason or discovering your laptop was stolen. Renters and tuition insurance plans allow students to get back up when life knocks them down.

Takeaways

You are your biggest champion. At the end of a hard day, week or month, we hope that you are able to find the good. Positivity is infectious, and know you can do anything you set your mind to, even the really hard stuff.

Career Transition

The Post-Grad Job Hunt

March 31, 2022

As graduation gets closer, many feelings start to bubble up; excitement, relief, nervousness, and maybe even anxiety. As we prepare to leave this phase of life and enter another, there are a few things that you can do to make the transition more manageable as you begin looking for your first job as a college graduate.

The hunt for a job starts before you ever step foot off-campus.

Before Leaving College

Of course, there is the fact that you need to actually graduate, move off-campus, and get settled in your new place. However, before you head out into the world, there are a few resources your school may have available to help get you started.

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Adulting Transition

Ultimate Guide to Getting Your First Car

March 4, 2022

Your first car could be one of your first major investments, and an important one at that. Having a personal car is a necessity nowadays because it is more convenient than commuting, especially if you are the type of person who has a lot of errands to do. But what should you consider when purchasing your first car? 

Type and model of the car

The type and model of the car are the first things you should weigh on because this one is a personal choice apart from being a practical one.

  • What type of car do you prefer?
  • Do you want a sedan or an SUV?
  • Do you need to use it for yourself only or do you have a family to consider?
  • Is it going to be for personal use or are you going to use it for a business?

These questions could lead to the type and/or model of the car you are going to get. If you still don’t have an idea of what you should buy, there are news articles that suggest the best practical cars in this season. For instance, here’s a US News article that suggests the most practical car options for the year 2021. But apart from practicality, this could also be just a personal preference. Would it be a dream car? It’s your decision to make. And after considering these, you can proceed to the next one—the price.

Price range and amortization

After choosing the type or model of the car that you want to purchase, it’s time to look around and check its price. You can go research different car dealerships near you and check if the vehicle you want is available there and how much they are selling it for. You may also review the car loan process beforehand to get all the details needed.

The best thing to do is to personally inquire and sort of get a customized deal that would suit your budget. Some car dealers try to adjust their rates depending on the capacity of the customer, considering other factors such as the amount of downpayment to be made, the length of the term, and the amount of amortization you could afford. It’s not bad to haggle sometimes.

Just remember that this is a major financial commitment and it could affect your credit score in the future. So you better make sure that you can commit to whatever deal you are going to get for your new car. 

Insurance and tax

Apart from monthly payments, your vehicle is also subject to tax. But there are vehicles that are exempted from tax such as old cars. There are also a few states that do not impose a tax on cars such as Delaware, Alaska, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Montana. You can purchase your car in these states, but you may still have to pay car tax if you move the vehicle into a state that imposes a tax on cars.

Car insurance is also important because accidents could always happen and it’s better to be secured rather than having to spend more later on. There are different types of car insurance and they vary depending on the state you are in. There is mandatory car insurance that covers your liability when accidents happen, and some options are for the damages your vehicle could get. There is also gap insurance where you get covered if the car gets stolen — basically, it prevents you from paying the whole amount of the car after it was stolen. 

These are just a few, basic pointers you need to remember when getting your first car, and again, just be reminded that purchasing a vehicle is a major decision and you should not be too quick when deciding what to buy and where to buy it from. Take your time and try to always look for the pros and cons before purchasing.

Adulting Career Transition

Best Jobs for Introverts

February 8, 2022
Introvert Jobs in College

It can be difficult enough to find a job. Finding one that you, as an introvert, can thrive in is even more difficult. It can seem like the world is built for extroverts, and large portions of it can be. However, in these modern times (especially during the pandemic) finding a job where you can limit your social interactions—or even work from home—is a lot easier.

Money isn’t the only thing you should be considering when looking for a new job. It is important, but you may find out that even if a job pays well, it isn’t the best for you. Here are 4 jobs that an introvert like yourself may enjoy.

1. Architect

Architects mostly work independently, planning and designing a variety of different buildings. If you like to solve problems and have a creative mind, being an architect may be the right pick for you. 

2. Librarian

This one may seem self-explanatory. A library is a quiet setting, one that many introverts can be drawn to. Being a librarian involves helping people find and check out books, as well as being responsible for the library’s upkeep and possible events. This job has more social interaction than you may think, so make sure you know what you’re getting into before accepting any position.

3. Social Media Manager

If you are knowledgeable and passionate about social media but don’t want to post about yourself, being a social media manager could be perfect for you! Social media managers create posts for clients, as well as plan and market larger campaigns. This is a job that can allow a lot of freedom and opportunities to work from home.

4. Editor

Like language? Have a passion for reading and writing? Consider becoming an editor. Editors mostly work alone and a good number work from home. They spend most of their time reading and looking over content to make sure it’s ready to be published. An editor could edit content for a variety of different mediums and subjects.

Conclusion

These were just 4 jobs that introverts may be attracted to. Remember, money isn’t everything when it comes to a job or career. It certainly is important, however. If you’re looking for a job that will pay you enough, Mint’s salary tool can help you see the salary range for a number of different jobs and locations.

BIO: Ray Alonzo is an avid writer from Phoenix. He focuses heavily on research to provide the most accurate information possible to readers.

Adulting Student Life Transition

Addressing Finances as a Student

February 4, 2022

College is one of the best times of your life: you’re always meeting new people, are regularly exposed to new and revolutionary ideas, and will make memories that last a lifetime. 

However, college can also be challenging. As a student, you’re continuously juggling responsibilities and are constantly aware of the costs like school fees, books, food, and accommodation. 

These responsibilities can lead many to put their head in the sand during their college years and ignore their finances. But this approach is unlikely to alleviate any financial anxiety you might feel and will only inflate your debts when you graduate. 

Instead, try a forward-thinking approach to budgets, expenses, and income — here are a few tips to help you along the way.  

Setting-up Your Budget

First things first – you can’t address your finances properly without a clear budget. 

You can create a realistic budget by adding up your income and looking at your expenses. This can be tricky, especially if you work hourly, which might fluctuate around seasonal shifts and finals and your income is inconsistent. You can account for these fluctuations ahead of time or should set a “minimum income” amount, so you don’t reach beyond your means. 

Next, divide your expenses into essential and non-essential expenses. Essential expenses should cover any non-negotiable fees like rent or food, and non-essential expenses should include cash for good times (we’ll get to that later!). 

Once you have a clear picture of how much you expect to earn and spend every month, you should start to think about how you can make your money work for you through investments and interest on savings — but only after you’ve established a healthy emergency fund. 

Pro-Tip: Take a look at your bill due dates to ensure you never miss a payment and that you will have enough money in your accounts when you need it!

Emergency Fund

An emergency fund protects you from unexpected medical bills or car maintenance fees. This isn’t the most fun way to handle your money, but it’s essential if you wish to have financial security and peace of mind. Emergencies can happen anytime, and being prepared for the unexpected ensures you will be okay.

Determining the size of your emergency fund depends on your current financial situation. However, an excellent point to start is budgeting to cover at least three months’ worth of expenses if you lose your source of income or are hit with an unexpected bill. 

Transportation

Without proper care and attention, cars can be money pits. You can easily spend hundreds, if not thousands, on simple repairs, and cars require consistent tax and insurance payments. As a student, you should seriously consider ditching a car until you have a reliable full-time income source that can support your vehicle without putting an extra strain on your budget. 

It’s hard to know if life without a car is right for you, and you should consider factors like your proximity to campus and access to public transport before you list your vehicle on craigslist. However, there are profound health benefits to going without a car, as you’ll likely cycle or walk far more than you ever did before. 

Good Times

A budget isn’t a spreadsheet that exists to make you feel guilty. A reasonable budget should allow for small fund to allow traveling, eating out, shopping, and activities with your friends. It’s important to set some money aside to for good times and memorable experiences, but as long as it doesn’t put you in a hard spot. You need to remember that your budget every month may not allow for fun activities if you

As a student with fewer commitments, you should seriously consider spending the money you budget for good times on summer travel plans. Summer vacation will help you see the light at the end of the spring semester tunnel and will give you a chance to make meaningful connections with the people you’ve met while studying. 

Conclusion

You can’t achieve financial independence overnight, but that shouldn’t stop you from making proactive financial choices based on a clear budget and some forward-thinking. That might mean you need to ditch the car for a few years, but it will also allow you to spend a little extra on summer vacations or road trips with your new friends. 

Adulting Other Transition

How to Manage Bills as a College Student

December 30, 2021

College can be a challenging time for students, but it doesn’t need to be stressful.

College students often struggle to manage their money and pay their bills on time as they move to this new chapter in their life. We are here to help you learn what you need to know about managing your finances as a college student.

Take Note of Every Expense

The first step in budgeting your money is to figure out what your monthly expenses will be.

You will have to pay for housing, utilities, phone service, internet access, and food while you are in college – it’s just the way things work! While different students have different living arrangements, most students will need to pay for these things. You may also need to consider the costs of transportation, textbooks, and other school supplies. Also, don’t forget the costs of any extracurricular activities or hobbies you want to pursue, like joining a club or participating in intramural sports.

From Netflix to the water bill, write down every single monthly expense you have. The more you know about how much all these things cost each month, the better prepared you can be for managing your money.

Begin with Your Fixed Costs

The first type of expense in factor into your budget are the ones that don’t change, or changes very little from month to month. This can include any bills you pay that are not negotiable (meaning the payment cannot be negotiated by a credit card, check, or cash, such as rent payments and car insurance premiums. These are important to remember and can serve as the foundation of your monthly budget.

List your Flexible Expenses

The next step is to determine your variable expenses – these are the monthly bills that change from month to month depending on how much you use. Common examples include utilities, groceries, transportation or gas, and even some cell phone plans. It can be very easy to go over budget with these types of expenses and is crucial that you pay attention to how much you are spending each month.

Plan on Unexpected Expenses

Life happens and you can’t always plan. One thing you should plan for is unexpected expenses, like car repairs or doctor visits. You can do this by setting aside a small amount each month (e.g., $20) in an emergency fund using your checking account. Another way to help the unexpected is to set aside money each month in to a savings account. This can be used for unexpected things you may need, or want, such as trips or a going out to eat that you did not account for in your budget.

Once you have paid all of your bills and set aside this monthly emergency fund, you have reached the end of your spending plan for each month. The amount left over in your checking account is yours to do with as you see fit!

What if money is too tight?

In some situations, budgeting may be difficult and you may not have enough money. If this is the case, it’s important to figure things out as soon as possible – don’t wait until your bills become overdue!

If you need more income to cover expenses, look into getting a job or increasing your hours at work. If you have to cut spending, start with the things that are not as important such as eating out or shopping.

However, attending college is often a full-time job in and of itself. On top of that, it’s important for you as a student to have a healthy amount of free time and disposable income for entertainment and leisure in order to manage the stress of college.

If you have your basic budget under control but need a little leeway for leisure and unexpected expenses, there are plenty of credit cards designed specifically for college students that will help take the pressure off. Just make sure to do your research and compare cards before signing on!

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of expenses you have as a college student. However, if you take an organized approach and write down each expense before it becomes due, managing your money should become much easier.

Author Bio

Colin Crown is a contributing writer and media specialist for Compare Credit. He is an avid foodie, marketing enthusiast and loves the city of Memphis.

Adulting Career Transition

5 Important Things to Know After Graduating From College

December 22, 2021

There are plenty of things you could do after getting your college degree. You can jump right in and immediately work or you could take a gap year. The important thing is you get to do what you want at that moment and you get to pace yourself so that you can decide on which path to take.

Here are some important things you need to know after graduating from college.

It’s okay to take your time

You are in a new chapter of your life. If you think you can afford to take a break in the meantime, go and get it. It’s better to face this new phase with a clear mind so you can decide better. Taking your time is not just about taking road trips or slacking off. You can also do other hobbies you have put off when you were studying. You can do anything that puts you at peace. You can also revisit your previous passions because these are often sources of inspiration.

Consider this as some sort of rehabilitation instead of slacking off. The time you invest for your inner peace is never a waste of time. 

Plan for the future that best suits you

You can also do this time to reevaluate your plans. You could have planned everything while you were studying, but there are always new things to consider at a different time. For instance, you can consider the economy, the industry that you are into, and many more.

It is also a time to consider other factors in your life:

  • Do you have someone with you?
  • What’s your current financial situation?
  • Do you still have student loans?
  • Are you willing to relocate for a job?

There are a lot of factors to consider but more importantly, you have to choose what you think is best for YOU, and not for anybody else. 

Consider your location

This is an important factor to consider after graduating from college. Does your industry have demands in your area? Will you be able to get your dream job in your current location? Does your paycheck cover your expenses? How much does it cost to live in your current area?

It is important to consider these things because you are now in charge of your life. Some people may have been considering this even when they are studying, but some people do start being independent only right after they graduated college. Either way, it is important to consider these things. For instance, if you are in the health or logistics industry, Jacksonville, Florida could be a great place for you because of such high demand in these industries.

It would be great if you are already living in the area. But if not, you should plan your move ahead to avoid inconveniences. To continue the scenario, if you are in the health or logistics industry and you are considering moving to Jacksonville, Florida because of the demand, book yourself some local movers for a more convenient move.

Stop comparing your current state with others

One of the things that could always hold you back is comparing yourself with others, especially to the ones in your age bracket. Please remember that everybody moves at their own pace. Not everybody has the same timeline. It could be discouraging to compare your struggles, or even successes, with others. Focus on yourself and be reminded that the only person you need to compare yourself with is the old you — not somebody else.

It’s okay to get help

Don’t be discouraged to get help, whether it is from friends, family, or the government. Some people could ask for temporary financial support from their families while they continue to look for a job and thats okay as long as the family is supportive. Other than financial support, you could also ask for emotional support from your friends and loved ones. Words of encouragement could go a long way for some people and be a source of inspiration or strength to push on.

But on a more practical note, you can also ask the government for help. For instance, there are tools such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and USAJOBS that could help you gather data on the career path you are trying to take and connect you with employers in your chosen industry.

Don’t worry about not figuring anything out yet, you’re not alone in this!

Other Transition

Wrapping Up Classes Before Graduation: 5 Tips to Help You Now and Later

December 14, 2021

It’s the last semester of your undergrad career; congratulations! Soon you’ll be free of homework, essays, required readings, and tests. But not so fast. You may be painfully close to that finish line, but you haven’t crossed it yet, and it’s essential to end your college career strong. So as you’re wrapping up your classes this semester, be sure to follow these tips:

1. Tie Up Loose Ends

You might be wrapped up with finals and term papers at the moment, but don’t forget about anything that’s been lingering on your to-do list for a while. If you’re unsure about your grade for a particular class, ask what your current standing is. If you know you haven’t done well, try bargaining for some extra credit assignments, or see if you can get any points for turning in missing assignments late. Do what you can to get your workload and assignments squared away for your classes. Your grades can only improve, and you’ll be glad about that later!

2. Stay Motivated

Think about all the hard work you’ve put in during your time at college. You owe it to yourself to finish things with a bang. Don’t let senioritis get you down; stay motivated! As always, time management is an important factor here. Balance work and play, but remember, there will be plenty of time for play after the semester ends. Think about the relief you’ll feel when all your assignments are turned in, and your finals are finished. Keep your motivation by focusing on the end goal: finishing your last semester and feeling proud of the work you’ve done. 

3. Get Recommendations

Before you leave class for good, it can be a smart idea to secure a letter of recommendation or two. You can ask a favorite professor, adviser, or student organization faculty officer. Even if you don’t need the letter right away, it can be helpful to get one from them now while you’re still fresh in their minds (the note will sound less generic that way!). 

4. Hang On to Some of Your Work

As you’re nearing the end of your last semester, it might be tempting to pitch anything school-related straight into the recycle bin. But think before you toss! Odds are you still have projects and papers saved on your computer; make sure to keep the strong pieces. You might need writing samples for applying to grad school programs and future jobs. As for class materials, think about what might be valuable to you post-graduation. You’re bound to forget some of what you learned, so if you have organized, convenient packets of information from your classes, file them away so you can reference them later!

5. Keep Contact Info

It can be beneficial to stay in touch with professors after graduation, so if you connected with an instructor, make sure to keep their contact info. You might end up wanting to email them in the not-too-distant future to ask about their industry, solicit advice, ask about jobs in the field, or just to let them know that you’d like to list them as a reference on an application.