Preparing for the Scary Real World
Everything is new and dazzling. The cafeteria food is 10x better than high school, your closet is packed full of new DSU gear, and your dorm room looks like it came straight out of Pinterest. The buildings of brick are tall and scholarly, there is a new face around every corner. You are a brand, new freshman. You most likely have ample time for homework and friends. Dorm room movie nights and homework hangouts with your neighbors are common.
I think of the latter with a dreamy nostalgia. What an easy and innocent world it was compared to the busyness of my junior and senior years. If, like me, you are going to graduate soon and have been already thrown part way into the real world, then listen up. I will tell you that it is NOT going to be an easy transition from college student to a real- world- lifer. However, there are small things you can do that can help you land your desired job and help you to become more adultish.
1.) Create a LinkedIn Account: It is inevitable that a potential employer is going to Google you. Luckily, most LinkedIn accounts show up when your name is Googled. A LinkedIn account showcases your education and degree history, work experience and descriptions, special courses taken in college pertaining to your field of work and any special professional skills and assets you may possess. LinkedIn is like resumé speed dating – it is a quick way for employers to see if you have the basics required for their job, and to see if you stand out in any way.
2.) Actually Keeping Track of Your Money – It seems that the moment my paycheck shows up in my bank account, I become the richest woman in the world. I go out to eat and buy things that I don’t absolutely need, because in my mind, the number in my account is still very high. However, I am thrown off my throne (hehe) when I see that number drop to less than $100 a few weeks later. I then live as a peasant, scrambling for coins on the car floor mats and finally eating that canned soup in the cupboard. During this time, going straight home after work and staying there becomes my daily routine until the next paycheck comes. (Mom, if you’re reading this, I swear none of this is true.) I know that such a simple thing could fix this problem – keeping track of what I am spending. Keeping a simple tally of what I spend would do the trick. There are also plenty of apps out there that could easily help you keep track of money spent and gained as well.
3.) Develop a Desirable Skill – It’s the little things that put you above and beyond the other candidates. Developing a desirable skill could do just that. I know that many jobs require one to become familiar with a certain software. Instead, become a master at it, bring examples of work you’ve done with the software, and then go apply for the job. Employers WILL notice the effort you put into it. Even something as simple as CPR training could put you above the rest. Some other examples include being able to speak two languages, a special form of training, customer service and having the ability to lead.
4.) Utilize DSU Career Services – Career Services is located in Heston Hall. They are more than willing to help you with any career questions, such as how to beef up your resumé or how to nail an interview. They will even personally sit down with you and go through every aspect of your resumé, point out areas of improvement, and then suggest ways to improve it. Career Services also holds several job fairs and mock interviews throughout the year. Their Job Link also lists hundreds of full and part time jobs and internships. Career Services is solely there to help you become more marketable, and to provide you resources to help you apply for and get the job you want.
5.) Establish Some Form of Credit – Few large things in the real world can be bought without established credit. If you want to purchase a car or house, and rent or insure something, your credit score will be used in determining whether you are responsible enough to handle those things. Heck, even an employee may look at your credit score. A credit score basically shows in numeric form whether or not you are reliable enough to pay off or pay towards something. Borrowing money and then paying off on it establishes and alters credit. If, like me, you have thousands in student loans, you have already established credit. But that is not enough. Many banks encourage college students to just even get a credit card, and only use it in one area of their life – for gas, food, eating out, etc. At the end of the month, they say to pay it off in full. This will increase your credit score.
I know that the above suggestions don’t sound like the best of fun, but taken seriously, they will all give you a head start into becoming more adultish, and may even give you that extra something that employers want.