How Not to Move Back in With Your Parents

Employment & Internships Podcast Episodes

Graduation: Time to Launch
To me From Me

Listen to the Podcast

Pete and Alex are joined by Phil Schuman to talk about how to structure your money after college so that you can start to live the life you want to and can get rid of your debts.

Read the Show Notes

Since 2008, the economy has been brutal to new college graduates; frankly the last 10 years have not been good to many recent graduates. Your grandparents will think you should have a job, but Mom and Dad know it’s a tough environment. There are a lot of people who will support you as you map out the future.

It’s time to reset goals. If you didn’t see weekly Tip #1 last fall, on Goals and Priorities, consider reviewing. Sure, getting a job in your preferred career is the ultimate goal, but if you don’t have the offer in hand, now is the time to establish mini-goals to get to the big one. From Tip #1 is the axiomatic quote, “Goals are dreams with deadlines.” [Diana Scharf Hunt]. Redraw your plans with new deadlines and remember plans and budgets are synonymous. You have to have a budget even during the gap period leading to that first position.

In the accompanying podcast, Pete-the-Planner gives advice on how to allocate your after-graduation budget--not dollars, but categorical spending. If you have student loans, paying that debt has to be front and center. Don’t wait for the 6-month grace period to end; try to reduce the principal as much as you can before selecting a long-term repayment option. Paying off loan debt is an important goal and it’s a positive sign you are moving forward. Also, Pete says to set aside dollars in an emergency fund; another adult-like behavior that is both pragmatic and self-satisfying.

Assuming you are actively in the job hunt, take a moment and reflect on your “readiness”. If you never visited the Career Development Office your resume is probably not up to par. Too many graduates waste space with a chronology of fast food jobs dating to when they got their driver’s license. You need to identify and accentuate competencies that employers want. If your resume needs help, the Career Center is still working for you as well as the IU Alumni Office with its own career resources.

Think of “readiness” like preparing for a sport. Keep your head in the game by doing things that will make a difference. Even if part-time seasonal work is the only opportunity on the horizon you need to get in shape so you can finish strong. Take an online course or register for a MOOC. Volunteer, associate and network with smart people, read a book. When that interview comes you don’t want to say you have been working on your tan; as a matter of fact stay out of the sun; it’s not a good image for an aspiring new-hire.

Practice for the interview. Master the anticipated tough questions and be believable about what you say. You might get a question on goals or what have you done since graduation that has been personally beneficial. Twenty years ago a standard question was, “What was the last book you read?” Can you believe that; a question to measure depth of intellect.

One last thing on the “readiness” menu. You won’t get a question on personal finance, but be aware that some employers now routinely check credit scores. New graduates don’t have high credit scores, but you don’t want “dings” that raise questions about perceived level of responsibility. Take the time to check your credit report and see if it is accurate. [see Tip #16 Establishing Credit].

The future is what you make of it. Every month in your job search—make it count.

“Each time a door closes, the rest of the world opens up.” Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak