Navigating Your Post-College Life

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New graduates already know the economy is lagging and the competition is stiff, but that doesn’t mean it’s an impenetrable market. Here’s a brief guide to navigating your post-college life in three key areas so that you can launch yourself for success.

Career

You already know that the job market you’re walking into isn’t as promising as it was for the previous generation. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a viable career opportunity. Start by taking an entry-level job in an industry you’re interested in, even if it means you’re sitting at the reception desk and hoping to work your way up. The connections you make are invaluable to your long-term success.

But don’t just sit behind the desk. Master your responsibility and go above and beyond your job duty so your employer has no choice but to promote you. If your boss isn’t seeing your hidden talents, take digital or on-site courses on the side to propel your career. Learn to code or how to write compelling content marketing for businesses.

Consider launching a side gig. Working with companies such as Amway, Uber and Fiverr can put money in your pocket, widen your network and help you acquire new skills as you set up your own business.

Finances

Tackling your finances is an overwhelming task for even the most seasoned adult with a stable career. Take steps to get your financial life in order. Set up your 401k through work or open a Roth IRA to start making small contributions to your retirement. Use your side gig income to pay down student loans and build an emergency fund.

Avoid the temptation to fully furnish your new apartment, get an expensive car and build up a wardrobe right out of the gate. It’s imperative to your financial health to pay down your debt while building your savings at the same time. Unfortunately, that means sacrificing other wants like a shiny new car.

Get an apartment with a friend, or rent out a spare bedroom on Airbnb to earn extra money. Move close to work and opt to walk or bike. Rely on free events, concerts and movies from the library instead of spending money on entertainment. If you’re determined to get ahead financially, there’s always a way if you’re willing to make a trade-off.

Relationships

Navigating a relationship post-college can be a minefield. This is especially true if you’re trying to hold onto a long-distance relationship while building your new life. Unless you already know for certain that your long-distance love factors into your long-term plans, it’s best to cut ties swiftly and amicably, and figure out your new life on your own terms. Otherwise, choose a neutral city where you can both kickstart your post-college lives together as a unified couple.

If you’re going into graduation solo, figure out what you want from your next relationship. Jot down the attributes you want from your date and keep that avatar close to mind so that you can proceed into the dating world knowing exactly what you want.

Look for potential dates through your personal network, online dating or events. Figure out where your perfect someone is likely to hang out and where they aren’t likely to be. There are always exceptions to where you’ll meet that special someone, but figuring out where they’re more likely to be is the best way to stumble across them accidentally-on-purpose.

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