You've just graduated from college, congratulations! Although it's summer and all you want to do is relax after all that time at school, consider doing these four things as you take that next step into the real world.
1. Take That Iconic Cliché Photo
Did your school have a mascot, or a defining sculpture or landmark? Go back and take that cliché photo that everyone seemed to be bogging up your news feed with. Someday, whether you're showing your kids where you went to school, or you're simply looking to reminisce about your college days, you'll be happy you took that photo.
2. Clean Up Your Social Media
Remember that photo you got tagged in on Facebook? Yeah, that one...yikes! Time to clean up your social media! It's pretty common for employers to use whatever resources possible to make sure you'll be an ideal candidate. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are just some of the places they'll be looking for information. Not only should you delete questionable photos, but you also should be mindful of what you post. Never bash your employer in a post. When I'm scanning my Facebook page, I like to think my great-grandmother is looking over my shoulder. If she's not happy, whoever you sent your resumé to might not be happy either.
It isn't always about what you know, but who you know. While you have to be knowledgable, the connections you make play a huge role in where you end up. Don't wait to build your network. Start making those connections now! Go to a social media breakfast or attend a job fair. Once you make a connection, make sure you maintain it. Those who go the extra mile and reach out often stand out. Never stop developing professional relationships, as it can give you the advantage when a company is deciding who to interview. It's always nice to have someone on the inside pulling for you.
4. Develop Your Financial Plan
I know that it's hard to think about, but starting to plan out your finances makes that abrupt transition into the real world much easier. There are so many questions to ask yourself. Do you have student loans? If so, how much will you be paying back every month? Can they be consolidated? Do you have a car payment, or will you be living in an area with public transportation? If you're moving to a different area, you'll no longer be living rent-free at your parents, but you'll be able to manage your funds with your credit union. Did you know 5400 credit unions nationally are part of the Shared Branching network? In Maine, credit unions have the largest branch network. You'll be able to withdraw money, make deposits, transfer funds, make loan payments, cash checks and more, wherever you end up after college. There's also SURF, which is the largest surcharge-free ATM network in Maine. With over 230 locations, you can take advantage of that as well.
There are so many moving pieces in the financial world that seems so distant while going to school. What do you think is the most important thing to do as a new graduate? Let us all know!