Something NOT quite right?

At some point in your life, you’re going to run into someone you thought had it all together, and you’re going to be surprised by the not-so-great path their life has taken. It happens to just about everybody: You see somebody and say, “Wow. I wonder what happened to them.” Reflecting on that can be a sobering experience, but it can also make you feel pleased about your own life and the decisions you’ve made. Unless, of course, you’re that person that everyone is wondering about.

Now that you’ve set your sights on success after college, you need to make sure you don’t end up being that person. That doesn’t mean you need to conform to everyone else’s standards, but it does mean you want to take the steps that will keep you from veering off track where the most you have to look forward to are the free eats at happy hour.

Set Your Sights on Financial Independence

Forget all the standard, boring stuff about saving for retirement – who wants to work for the next 40 or more years if they don’t have to? Instead, according to WiseBread, set a goal to become financially independent, or at least have enough savings to live the kind of life you want by the time you’re 35. Set your target date, and then figure out how much you’ll have to save or invest to get there. Couple of other tips: Look for skills you can use to earn extra on the side or maybe start a small business to help you achieve your goal sooner.

Protect Your Identity

Now that you have the income to pay your bills and maintain a healthy credit score, it’s really important to make sure your identifying information – social security number, credit card numbers and other critical information – is kept out of the hands of identity thieves. Every year, the news is full of stories of people who’ve had their identities stolen. Their lives are turned upside down, their credit score plummets – some have even had police come looking for them – and all because a total stranger stole their identity. Take financial advice from The New York Times by shredding credit card offers, bank statements and old checks; subscribe to a credit monitoring service or enroll in a comprehensive identity protection service for total peace of mind. These identity theft protection testimonials can give you information about the risk of identity theft and how critical it is to take steps to protect your identity.

Practice Good Credit Habits

It sounds boring, but nothing ruins a good future and a happy life like a boatload of debt, so when it comes to credit, it’s important to use restraint. While you were in college, you probably got your share of credit card offers, but once you graduate and have a paying job, the flow of offers really starts. Your credit score can affect your life in more ways than you can imagine – not only will it have a direct effect on your ability to take out a loan for a car or house, but it can also affect the amount you pay for insurance and even whether or not you’re offered a job. According to Equifax, the best way to keep your credit in good shape is to pay your bills on time each month – preferably paying credit card balances in full; don’t rack up more debt than you can pay back in a reasonable time; don’t apply for lots of credit; and if you do carry balances on your cards, keep them as low as possible.

Kristen Mcmahon

Kristen is a financial consultant for the middle class. She loves helping her clients climb out of debt and into a more financially secure future.

Survey of 635 Career Professionals Suggest Grad’s Resumes – NOT Job Search Ready!

I’ve been studying a recent report by the Career Advisory Board to gain a better understanding of why career professionals think students don’t take ownership of their career plan and strategy while in college.

My hunch has always been that the culture of the college doesn’t support it.

Students are focused on getting to know people, acclimating themselves to a whole new environment, dorm living, night life, faculty and the freedom to do whatever they want to do.   They have hundreds of activities to choose from and very little direction from the college that they should start building their professional network and career plan their freshman year, which flows into their sophomore,  junior and eventually their senior year.

The survey was conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (for CAB) suggests grads are CLUELESS on how to get a job!

Check out these numbers shared by four year colleges!

When asked if students have their resume ready to start a professional job search:

  • 9.4 percent strongly disagreed
  • 43.3 percent disagreed
  • 19.3 percent neither agreed or disagreed
  • 25 percent agreed
  • 2.8 percent strongly agreed

And response from two year colleges was worse!

  • 39.0 percent strongly disagreed
  • 44.1 percent disagreed
  • 8.5 percent neither agreed or disagreed
  • 8.5 percent agree
  • NOBODY strongly agreed!

Does this surprise you? 

It did me as resume development is the number one, primary service many career centers provide.   I didn’t interpret these numbers to suggest the career center is doing a horrible job in teaching students on how to develop a professional resume, but a result of a minority of students visit the career center.  In a previous post, we shared that a NACE 2011 survey showed over 60 percent of graduating seniors either NEVER went to the career center or visited only 1 or 2 times.

That’s barely enough time to develop a professional resume!

So what can we do?

One of the solutions we’ve been working on for the past two years is an online resume course taught by the New York Times bestselling author Martin Yate.  Martin helped us create a 3 session course that will give students a foundation in understanding the fundamentals of creating a resume and how to make a resume work for him or her.   For your son or daughter it an incredible tool.  The course includes assignments so by the time your son or daughter finishes, they will have the foundation of their resume.

Because the course is available anytime through any device, students can “fit” it into their busy schedule.  We highly suggest your student take the course and then go visit their career center staff to help them polish up what they created and help them take it to the next level.

What do you think?  Share your thoughts and check out our CareerCourses today!

 

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Career Center Professionals Say >50% of Grads Are NOT Job Search Ready

I’ve been pouring over the recently released study by the Career Advisory Board, called Effectively Counseling Graduating Students.   The CAB engaged NACE to survey career center professionals to find out what if graduating students are prepared to enter the job market and succeed in their first job.

The survey was shared with 1,365 career professionals and a whopping 43 percent or nearly 600 participated.

The results showed that career professionals do NOT think grads are job search ready.  In fact:

  • 8.0 percent strongly disagree
  • 40.1 percent disagree
  • 27.7 percent neither agree nor disagree
  • 21.6 strongly agree
  • 2.7 agree

I’m not sure why 27.7 percent neither agreed or disagreed.  Perhaps it was because they just didn’t know, or that they didn’t want to weigh in on the topic.   Rather than focusing on the negative number lets focus on the positive.   If we can extrapolate this survey to career center professionals across the country only 23 percent think their graduating seniors are ready for their job search.

Frankly I’m not surprised.

In a 2011 survey conducted by NACE, that evaluated how frequently graduating seniors visited the career center:

  • 27 percent never visited
  • 18.1 percent visited once
  • 16.7 percent visited twice.

That adds up to nearly 60 percent who either never visit or visit less than twice.  Clearly that is not enough time to even prepare a resume.

So what is the solution?   

  • 33.7 percent suggest offering, requiring students to attend career classes
  • 18.3 percent suggest cultivating relationships with faculty
  • 11.9 percent suggested moving the career center to a more visible location
  • 7.7 percent suggested hiring paid student ambassadors
  • 16.6 percent suggested mores staff to market the career center to students

We’d like to suggest a couple of our solutions too. 

  1. Encourage your son or daughter to begin networking with alumni on LinkedIn their freshman year.
  2. Make sure they visit the career center to get advice and suggestions on developing their resume and career plan.
  3. Have them read books about leadership, ethics, and communication, softskills companies are looking for.

And of course, register them for our four year career planning course.

The program provides your students access to the nations top career authors and experts.

 

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Unfortunately, that’s the reality for 80 percent of college students that have graduated since 2008 when the economy and hiring plummeted.  Few grads realize that, because they don’t take ownership of their career during college, and create a career plan and job search strategy it will take them 7.4 months to get a job, costing them over $25,000 in lost wages

Unfortunately, that’s the reality for 80 percent of college students that have graduated since 2008 when the economy and hiring plummeted.  Few grads realize that, because they don’t take ownership of their career during college, and create a career plan and job search strategy it will take them 7.4 months to get a job, costing them over $25,000 in lost wages

Unfortunately, that’s the reality for 80 percent of college students that have graduated since 2008 when the economy and hiring plummeted.  Few grads realize that, because they don’t take ownership of their career during college, and create a career plan and job search strategy it will take them 7.4 months to get a job, costing them over $25,000 in lost wages

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