2014 Graduates: Make the Most of Your Education

If you’re expecting to graduate this spring and make the transition from academic life to full-time employment, this change will have an impact on multiple aspects of your life. You’ll need to start looking at several things in a new way, from your finances to your expectations of the future. You may even need to alter your definition of “work” and productivity. Here are a few considerations that can help you navigate the road that lies ahead.1. Keep money in perspective. The move from broke student to full-time employee can be a bit overwhelming for some young workers. Right now, it may be impossible to imagine bringing in a staggering sum of 30,000 to 40,000 dollars annually (which is a reasonable rate for an entry-level professional job). But keep this amount in perspective. Don’t start buying expensive items and running up credit card debt, since this one mistake often creates financial problems that haunt new graduates well into middle age. Keep your lifestyle modest and focus on paying off your loans. You’re not rich yet. But you may be in the future if you keep your monthly expenses lower than your monthly income.2. Give experience a chance. Right now you have plenty of knowledge that you’ve gained from books, lectures, and research. But soon, real-life experience will start moving into the picture. If the second conflicts with or competes with the first, don’t fight this. Successful learning also involves a degree of unlearning and relearning.3. Don’t refuse to work. If you feel morally obligated to reject a job offer because it’s beneath you or it doesn’t count as “doing what you love,” get over this. The road that winds between here and retirement is far longer than you realize right now. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to shift from one job to another and even switch careers altogether. Work. Get moving. Every job can be a meaningful experience, and every job is temporary. It’s an offer, not a life sentence.4. Control your relationships with authority figures. Younger workers often have trouble parsing the commands and criticism that come from parents, teachers, and eventually bosses. Parents give orders because they love you, teachers give orders because it’s their job to prepare you for the world, and bosses give orders because they’re paying you to help them make money. Learn the difference between these three motivations. When someone says jump, think before you ask how high. Likewise, when someone tells you that you’re pleasing them or failing to meet their expectations, recognize the context of this criticism (or praise) before you react.5. Keep your eyes on your long-term plans. And keep a specific timeline in mind. The best way to get wherever you’d like to be at 30 is set a clear goal, then break that goal down into smaller goals. If you aren’t where you need to be at 22, 25, or 29, get up and take action. Don’t sit still.

Know When to Get Moving

When it’s time to make a change, be ready. And keep your resume close. A great resume is like a ticket for the next train out of town. And when it’s time for you to land your first job, score a promotion, or leave your first job and search for opportunities outside the company, you’ll need a professionally formatted resume to make this happen. Visit MyPerfectResume and start creating a clear, organized, beautiful document that showcases your accomplishments to those who can move you forward.