Seven Tips For Soon-To-Be College Grads

JLP over at AllFinancialMatters has seven tips to share with soon-to-be college graduates preparing to enter “the real world.”

  • 1) Get one credit card. Pay it off in full each month to start building a good credit history.
  • 2) Make a budget and separate necessities from desires. Spend on the former, save for the latter.
  • 3) Buy a suit. Blue, black, and grey are acceptable.
  • 4) If you have debt, bring it under control by consolidating with one vendor at a low rate.
  • 5) Start saving for retirement now. This year, not next.
  • 6) Invest for the long-haul. That means stocks, not bonds.
  • 7) Write a one page resume, but don’t go overboard.
    What was the most helpful piece of advice you received after graduating? Tell us in the comments. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

    Advice to Give College Grads [AllFinancialMatters]
    (Photo: Leonid Mamchenkov)

  • Comments

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    1. coconino says:

      Be selective in job searching. You choose your job, the job choses you too. Applying for everything and anything will get you no where.

    2. timmus says:

      I thought there was evidence that using a credit card like a checking account and paying it off in full doesn’t help one’s credit either way.

    3. BartLee says:

      What I’ve been told is that the number of credit cards is not as important as how much of the balance you utilize. In other words, it’s better to have three cards with 30% of the their limits drawn than one card @ 90%. Under 15% is ideal. Obviously, don’t make any late payments.

    4. AnnieGetYourFun says:

      I’m pretty sure that having a credit card helps, period. As long as it is a credit card. My bf had an American Express card, and that did nothing for his credit.

      What you listed above is pretty much the advice that I would give any new grad. I would also mention:

      You’re not a total square if you can’t afford to go out drinking with everyone nearly every night. Don’t feel bad skipping huge drinking parties in which you blow have of your meager paycheck on rounds of fruity drinks in expensive bars. If you wnat some bonding time with a group of friends, invite everyone over and make it a BYOB/share what you bring evening. I can’t count the number of times I had to walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn because I didn’t have even $1.50 for cab fare, having spend an evening in Chelsea with investment banker friends who made three times the salary that I did.

      Eliminate the people in your life who cause you too much grief, if possible. I had two extremely drama-prone friend who had cost me lots of money and taken up too much of my time. I finally told them to bugger off once I graduated, because I just couldn’t take the stress anymore.

      Obviously, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should stop talking to your mom, even if she drives you bonkers.

    5. radioboy says:

      network network network! it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. using my major as an example… the PA that you snub on the set this week just might be director in 3 months… if you were nice to him, he’ll remember it and probably give you a job on his new production. you snub him, he’s not doing a thing for you.

    6. RandomHookup says:

      On the topic of bad resumes…I received one recently that indicated that his reference was no longer living. Bad enough, since dead people give shitty referrences, but he misspelled it as “diseased”.

      Don’t think I will be calling either of them.

    7. Tallanvor says:

      And by “blue”, of course, that means a dark blue, not sky blue or another light color.

      Some people can get away with tan suits, though.

    8. faust1200 says:

      @RandomHookup: Maybe he was diseased. ;)

    9. A one-page resume isn’t always the best, especially for graduates going into a technical field. If my resume wasn’t two pages long, I’d look underqualified for every job I’ve applied to.

    10. Stepehn Colbert says:

      #8 DISABLE YOUR LIMEIWRE UPLOAD FILE

    11. traezer says:

      Dont eat out for lunch. Pack a lunch for work. You will save a lot of money.

    12. GopherGod says:

      Create a emergency fund. Build it to a point where if you lost your job you could live for 4-6 months (eat, rent, drive, everything).

      Do it in Money Market Account, and if you have a traditional savings account with a bank that returns less than 2 percent (probably less) get rid of it.

      Capital One is what I use because it has a ATM card. IGN and others are starting to offer these electronic savings accounts.

      They currently return 5%.

    13. tozmervo says:

      As to #3, the suit thing, I gotta disagree with you there. At least, with some professions. For myself, I use dress to communicate with a firm (Architecture) who I am. A suit is not who I am. If a place still enforces ties in the dress code, chances are I will not be happy there. And the fact is, I very rarely see people at the firms in suits – even the principals.

      That isn’t to say I don’t dress professionally, though. Just no suits.

    14. DropBearCharlie says:

      A credit card should help establish a credit history. I just pulled my credit records and it lists how many months you have been paying on time, as well as your balance, etc.

    15. AndyMan1 says:

      Can someone explain the stocks vs. bonds in more detail?

      I guess the angle they are taking is weighing reward more than risk.

      I was under the impression that yes, stocks may earn more but they are much more volatile than bonds. Bonds are a much more stable and secure form of investment.

      Perhaps because we are young, we have don’t have as much to lose and more time to make up for a loss, and should choose stocks because of this?

    16. CRSpartan01 says:

      One page resume? Seriously?

      The best ones I’ve seen have been over a page, but no more than two. One page resumes just don’t get the job done nowadays…

    17. Amused_Onlooker says:

      AndyMan1:

      From what I’ve been taught stocks are better for graduates for two reasons:
      1. Like you said, as younger investors you can take more risk because you don’t need the money immediately and you have more time to make up for the loss.
      2. While stocks may be volatile for the short term, over the long term they offer pretty consistent returns (9-11% I think).

      If you don’t need the money soon, it makes sense to be stock heavy.

    18. SOhp101 says:

      @timmus: That’s a common myth.. when banks report your cc usage to the credit agencies they usually post the monthly balance along with the credit limit.

      Best ways to build credit (in this order):
      – Pay on time
      – Increase your avg acct age by keeping old accounts
      – Stay under 30% utilization


      AndyMan1: Yes, that’s exactly the reasoning. If the ever so small chance occurred (small because you diversified, of course) that all your stocks plummeted to nothing, you still have time to recover and rebuild your investments. If you’re older you want to invest more in bonds because it isn’t pretty when you’re 55 and it turns out half of your retirement suddenly goes kaput.

      As for the suit thing, I think it’s important to get a suit anyway because during job interviews it’s usually better to wear a suit. If you’re only getting one, getting black suit is best because you will be able to wear it to almost any formal occasion (wedding, funeral, formal party, etc.).

    19. RandomHookup says:

      @tozmervo:

      Well, there are almost always some events that might call for a suit…your boss’s daughter’s wedding, a funeral for the senior partner, the company holiday party. You may never have to wear one for work, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared. A suit says you are a grown-up.

    20. mac-phisto says:

      if your college or university has career fairs and/or a career center, utilize them. be sure to talk to more than one recruiter…even if you have a “firm” offer.

      don’t be afraid to tap friends & relatives for job offers. most jobs aren’t posted. search online company sites for employment listings & valuable information for future interviews.

      join the alumni association. trust me, it’s worth it. the real power of your degree lies in the network that it represents. use it to your full advantage. don’t ever downplay your degree – even if it is in english. jk.

    21. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

      In addition to getting a credit card and learning how to manage it well, college grads might also want to get added as an AU for their parents’ oldest credit card that is in good standing. That’s one of the first things I did when I was in college and it has greatly helped my credit.

      I also always enjoy hearing the BofA credit representatives thank me for being a customer since the 80s when I am still in my 20s.

    22. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

      Sorry, by AU, I am referring to getting added as an authorized user.

    23. Notsewfast says:

      @ Andyman1

      I agree with SOhp101 and that is probably their logic, however using a blanket statement to say “stocks, not bonds” is a gross oversimplification and frankly bad advice. I htink better advice would be to invest less in low yeild, low risk securities until you feel that losing your nestegg would be a disaster and you’re happier with less risk if it gives you less volatility.

      The key is to read up, stay diversified, and structure your portfolio toward your own goals. If you can only put away $50 a month, invest in something with lots of upside potential, and if you’re a trust-fund baby, stay out of the risky stuff.

    24. Spikeykatt says:

      On the resume topic:
      When I review resumes from recent gradutes that are more than one page, they are usually disasters, taking too much time to descibe every detail of their unrelated job history. I would agree a “Sr. Manager” level resume would need to be longer. Some other blunders I have noticed are the use of humor or jokes, and cover letters meant for another company telling me how much passion they have to work there. Oops! Good luck class of ’07!

    25. rekoil says:

      8. Get a haircut, even if the job you’re going for don’t involve customer face time. You can always grow it back once you’re settled into the job. Take out the piercings, too.

    26. etinterrapax says:

      Have appropriate clothes for weddings and funerals. Use them. For weddings and funerals.

      All the spelling and grammar you’ve been taught since first grade? It all counts. Plenty of employers throw out any resume with even one error. Why would you want to lose a chance at a job for a dumb mistake like that? Get help if you honestly can’t proofread your own work. Sometimes sleeping on it and reading it again in the morning helps. Use a dictionary. Never send out anything unless you are willing to bet your life that you know the meaning and usage of every word in it. I see a lot of malapropisms, i.e. words that sort of sound like the right one, but aren’t. Conscience and conscious are two different words, no matter how you personally pronounce them. While you’re at it, work on that, too. If you speak well, people automatically assume you’re educated and competent. Unfair, but true.

      Learn to write polite, effective notes of inquiry, thanks, congratulations, condolence, and apology. Use skills as needed. Understand that they will be needed. It’s what makes civilization civilized.

    27. TheIowaKid says:

      To all college graduates who live in Iowa. You have two choices; pack your things and move far away, or pick which insurance or finance company you want to work for. Des Moines is the insurance capital of the world, you know. I have friends in all majors….and they all work for Principal Financial, Wells Fargo Financial, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Guide One Insurance, Allied, Nationwide, etc., etc. More specific, just decide which part of Wells Fargo you want to waste away in.

    28. Michael Bauser says:

      My tipe #8: Be nice to your parents, so they’ll let you move back in when you can’t get a job with your diseased résumé.

    29. billybastion says:

      the best advice i ever received?

      “History degree huh? Boy, you better go to graduate school for something else then.”

      After teaching high school for two years, I took the above advice and am now only 5 months away from graduating with a Masters in Communication and Media Studies.

      Best damned advice I’ve ever received.

    30. VeryFancyBunny says:

      If you’ve ever had an urge to take an extended trip or live overseas for a while, the time immediately following college is when to do it. There are ways to do it without draining your savings account, too. You can teach English in Asia (as I did), work on organic farms through the WWOOF program, apply for the Peace Corps, or go through a program such as BUNAC to work in Europe. Do it before you have car payments and an unbreakable lease or a mortgage. Leave your stuff in your parents’ basement for a year or two and just GO. When you come back home, you’ll go on job interviews where the hiring manager will say, “Oh, you lived abroad for a year? I always wanted to do that…” Dude will have spent 5 days in London in 1997 and gone on a Caribbean cruise for his 25th wedding anniversary. Do you want that, young graduate? GO!

    31. LGABoarder says:

      The best advice I could give to new graduates is don’t settle for a job just because its within your reach. I took on two part-time positions that I HATED because I needed a job. I left both within three months and now work at a place I love at a job that suits me. Don’t jump the gun because you feel pressured to work!

    32. davek says:

      Always own a suit, because you never know for certain when you may need to appear in court for anything, and a suit gives a psychological advantage over those who aren’t wearing one.

      My other recommendation is to play the long game with your career: What will be better for you five years from now, as opposed to five months from now. I made the mistake of bopping around from gig to gig, being lured by high salaries from dot-com’s that folded after a year. Didn’t do me a bit of good on my resume and ultimately set me back.

    33. EtherealStrife says:

      @VeryFancyBunny:

      Excellent advice. In some parts of the world you’re *expected* to do that after college, and you may find your interests changing in the year or two you spend elsewhere. Depending on what you do abroad, you could even pick up some applicable job experience out of it.

    34. moorie679 says:

      Wow…… I am pretty sure that this list is useless unless you are an idiot. List should be

      1) Bullshit your resume, if you are honest and did not graduate from an Ivy league school you will not even get a rejection letter let alone an interview.
      2) Try to survive with the money that they pay you – health and car insurance (which means you wont have enough to save or invest)
      3) Try to show up to work and remain unnoticed, the less you rock the boat the longer you will keep your job.

      To the people that are about to get pissed of at this:

      Corporate world in the US has lost its morals and ethics period. Every single HR manager that I have talked to in the past do not do anything but sit on their asses. You will not get a good paying job, you will not get benefits (even if you do they will be taken away in the future maybe even after you retire). If you actually do work you will end up making your boss look incompetent or the colleagues that are not doing work so you will be eliminated (politics). If you are lucky you wont get fired right before x mas.
      3) Be prepared to answer the “where do you see yourself in 5 years” question about a million times.

      Sorry if this doesn’t make any sense, I cannot type when I am pissed off.

    35. Tallanvor says:

      For a new undergraduate, even someone going into a technical field, a one page resume should be plenty. Most people in charge of hiring don’t want to know every class you’ve taken, or every little job you’ve had.

      For people who have been to grad school, and/or have 5 or more years of work experience, a 2 page resume is good. But you’d better not go beyond 2 pages unless you’ve got 20 years of experience or a hell of a lot of certifications.*

      Seriously though, keep the resume sharp and short, and make the cover letter highlight the parts of your resume that you feel are most relevant to the job you are applying for.

      *The exception to this rule tends to be in academe, where you’d want to include your publications on the CV.

    36. Tallanvor says:

      Also, I have to disagree with moorie679. Don’t lie on your resume. You might get away with it, but if you get caught on it during the interview, you’re not going to get the job, and if you get caught after the fact, you risk losing your job.

      Seriously, there are plenty of good jobs out there that don’t require lying to get them.

    37. iisanother says:

      – If you have any expectation at all of pursuing graduate school/advanced studies, let your professors know NOW that you’ll eventually be asking for a letter. Ask them to write one now that they can keep on file for when you need it. The letter will be far better as they will actually remember who you are at that point, and likewise if you need to apply to something last minute it isn’t as big of a deel.

      – Learn to cook yourself and bring your own lunch, the savings are staggering. Don’t eat out except as a social situation (never simply for convenience).

      – The credit card, however, you should have already gotten freshmen year to build credit, as entering the real world without it is difficult. Start as a freshmen, but be strict – only buy your books and plane tickets with it and pay it off immediately. By the time you graduate, you’ll have built a flawless 4 year credit history, which will help in a lot of ways.

    38. @tozmervo: Suits aren’t necessarily for WORKING in. There are just some adult events where suits are unavoidable, and a surprising number of people — in this day and age of dressed-down offices — don’t own one. And it’s way hard to get one the afternoon of the major business dinner you just found out today requires a suit. :)

      (And don’t go with unrelieved black for men — for women it looks sharp, for men, it makes you look like an undertaker. It’s got to have a bit of a subtle pattern.)

      @Spikeykatt: “When I review resumes from recent gradutes that are more than one page, they are usually disasters, taking too much time to descibe every detail of their unrelated job history.”

      Good lord, yes. (and Tallanvor, I don’t want to see 2 pages from people with graduate degrees or from people with only 5 years in the workforce. Give me a break! I have multiple graduate degrees and more than five (relevant) years working and it all fits on one page.) I don’t care where you went to high school. I don’t care about every activity you were involved in six years ago. Give me the HIGHLIGHTS, and if it doesn’t fit all on one page, your descriptions are too wordy, or you’re giving me WAAAAAAAAY too much data.

      One thing I see a lot of is people who’ve been working five years and more than half the first page of their resume is still college. I DO NOT CARE about minor college activities. As you progress, things fall of the back of your resume (old or irrelevant jobs) and get shrunk up front (educational data). If you have THAT MUCH to explain, write a cover letter.

      I loathe reviewing resumes because most of them suck and most of them are way too long. To be snarky at one in particular, applying for a low-level secretarial job your first year out of college does not require a two-page resume. Stapled. With multi-page cover letter. Which was not stapled. The whole package looked unprofessional and slapped together.

    39. RHazlett says:

      “Do what you love”

    40. thrillhouse says:

      Best advice?
      Make friends with those around you. Its likely that you’ll work with or for one of them at some point. So don’t be an ass a hang on to petty disagreements.

      And to the longstanding high-maintenance credit score debate: You’re better off not playing that game. As you can see in the first three comments, there is more myth than truth to it. Stay out of debt, stay away from credit cards, budget, pay for things with cash. You’ll have money to save, you’ll have less stress about money, and yes you will be able to buy a house. If you are just getting started and want the truth about life and money from someone who’s been thru it, then the best investment you can make is to take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.

    41. palaste says:

      @Eyebrows McGee: I have never, ever, worn a suit to work, nor do I have any intention of ever doing so. I do have a suit though, which I sometimes wear to parties. It’s unrelieved black, even the shirt. Only the tie and the pocket square are coloured. A couple of women have told me it looks really good on me. I once even saw a guy whose suit was completely black – even the tie.

    42. RHazlett says:

      “I once even saw a guy whose suit was completely black – even the tie”……and that man’s name was Johnny Cash

    43. Sudonum says:

      I’ve reviewed plenty of resumes in my past corporate life. Keep it short and sweet. The time to discuss anything on the resume in depth is during the interview.

    44. MameDennis says:

      If you’re just graduating college, the odds are strong that you don’t have the work experience to pad out a two-page resume. Be honest. Be concise. (You’ve learned by now–I hope–that your professor is fully aware when you try to make your 8-page essay into a 10-page essay by using wide margins and a chunky font and a bunch of loooong quotes? Same idea.)

      You’ve heard it before, but it’s very important: Don’t count on spell check! It won’t help you weed out real words you’ve misused. Please ask someone trustworthy to read your resume before you send it to potential employers.

    45. bambino says:

      @palaste: The Regis Philbin look is never a good idea.

    46. robbie says:

      Unsolicited office advice:

      Combat the lack of experience by doing everything promptly and quickly–particularly responding to e-mails–even if it just to say that you are working on something and need more time. If something is not getting done, don’t have it come back to the fact that something sat on your desk (or in your inbox) needlessly.

      Rather than contribute to “reply to all” trains, have efficient conversations with only those necessary, then bring in parties who need to be aware of the final status.

      Focus not on what you’re “supposed” to do (limited job description) or “allowed” to do (leave at a particular time) but instead on being the person who always gets things done and is helpful, no matter what. The goal is to earn a bulletproof reputation.

      Learn how to be both courteous and pithy over e-mail. Assume everything you write will be forwarded up the food chain.

      Do not be afraid to share your opinions with managers. Just do it privately, courteously, and at a good time. (I find the end of the week, when moods are good, to be a good time to discuss non-urgent opinions and any other work-related issues.)

      Be nice–being professional does not mean license to be a jerk. Find a healthy balance between funny and professional. Spend a little less time engaging in idle chatter than those around you.

      New to a job? Keep personal calls to an absolute minimum.

      Be nice to the people who support your work life. Mail, maintenance, and custodial colleagues are your friends.

    47. mac-phisto says:

      @moorie679: wow. i was there once. if you are not still in college & disenfranchised, or recently out of college & having trouble finding a job i’d be surprised.

      the truth is, it doesn’t matter who your degree is from or what it is in. undergrad ivy league doesn’t mean anything in the real world. wave an mba from harvard or yale in my face & i’m impressed, but bachelor’s in psychology from stanford? big deal.

      your first job (in most cases) is going to suck. you are going to do a lot of work, have long hours, be accountable for everyone’s misdeeds, make little or no money, you’ll be lucky to have benefits & if there’s a layoff, guess who’s getting a pink slip.

      but that’s how it goes. it’s what makes companies hire inexperienced college grads. you work that crap job for 6 months before you actively seek employment elsewhere. if you are in that job for more than a year, make sure they reimburse for education, b/c you need to do something to get out of it. deputy assistant to the assistant vice president of widgetry looks good out of college…not so good 10 years out.

    48. mermaidshoes says:

      @billybastion:

      yeah, but are you gonna get a job after graduate school? that’s the real question. i’ll be starting a grad program in the fall, with fingers crossed that it actually helps my job prospects. maybe we should start a thread on post-grad school advice… i’ll need it in two years. :)

    49. pestie says:

      I’ve never even worn a suit in my life, let alone owned one, and that makes me very happy.

    50. pestie says:

      OK, more on the suits issue:

      “As for the suit thing, I think it’s important to get a suit anyway because during job interviews it’s usually better to wear a suit.”

      That depends entirely on the company. My boss and I were interviewing for an IT position here not long ago and one guy (and only one) showed up in a full suit-and-tie. We’re an extremely laid-back office and his suit and perfect hair contributed to the perception we had that he might be too uptight to work here. There were other reasons (qualifications and experience) why we ultimately chose someone else, but the suit definitely hurt this guy’s chances at our company.

      “A suit says you are a grown-up.”

      It says that you’re conservative and happy that way. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially in situations like court, but that’s definitely what a suit says.

      “Well, there are almost always some events that might call for a suit…your boss’s daughter’s wedding, a funeral for the senior partner, the company holiday party.”

      I’ve had the misfortune to attend one of my boss’s daughter’s wedding and another of his daughter’s funeral (the wedding was a misfortune due to how the marriage turned out). The rule I was given for the wedding was “no jeans,” so I wore slacks and one of those T-shirts with a tuxedo print. People got a kick out of it. For the funeral, I wore a shirt, tie (the only time I’d worn a tie in years) and nice slacks, but not an actual suit. There were plenty of people there dressed less nicely than me. The moral here: know your audience.

    51. moorie679 says:

      @mac-phisto: Actually it does mean a lot in the real world in terms of getting a job I will bet you anything that there is a correlation between the time it takes someone to find their first job and where they got their degree from….. But if you are talking about the quality of the person when they graduate then you are right, ivy league don’t mean sh*t.

    52. erika says:

      “What was the most helpful piece of advice you received after graduating?”

      Practice your rolling shuffles. . . there’s always a production of “42nd Street” going on somewhere.

    53. flyover says:

      Network

      Get involved in something other than work (I need to work on this). This doesn not indlude going to the bar every day with coworkers – volunteer, athletics, classes.
      These activities are one of the best ways to network.

    54. flyover says:

      wow – sorry about the typos – typing fast at work = bad

    55. mac-phisto says:

      @moorie679: paper is paper. from my experience, candidates rarely get a job based solely on where they went to school. the exception is when the hiring manager went to the same school the applicant did…this person will almost always have a hands up. for example, my father was a school superintendent & only actively recruited candidates from his alma mater – penn state. that doesn’t mean only penn state grads got the job, but psu is the only campus he visited for a job fair.

      the resume is just a weed out process for face time. two identical candidates with the same resume, other than one is ivy league & one is not will generally both make it to an interview. from there, your alma mater simply becomes a talking point. a graduate from a non-ivy league with a resume full of relevant experience will almost always beat out a graduate from an ivy league with no relevant experience – unless, of course, dad runs the company. :)

    56. infinitysnake says:

      @BartLee: That’s exactly right. Paying in full evey month is good, but maxing it out first is bad…shows a lender you NEED the credit- always a bad thing.

    57. @pestie: “It says that you’re conservative and happy that way.”

      No, dude, it says I look hot in a suit.

      “There were plenty of people there dressed less nicely than me. The moral here: know your audience.”

      I think that’s a weak excuse; for funerals in particular it’s always better to be overdressed and it’s respectful to wear the best you have regardless of the “audience.”

    58. bricklayer says:

      “Plastics.”

    59. BillyShears says:

      “Start saving for retirement now” is much easier said than done. My first job out of college left me with just enough for rent and food. The mere thought of socking any away for my golden years was a punchline to a joke, not sage advice.

    60. gopher646 says:

      @Eyebrows McGee: @pestie: “It says that you’re conservative and happy that way.”

      Eyebrows McGee: No, dude, it says I look hot in a suit.


      I agree. I wear a suit almost every day to work, and I’m not conservative whatsoever on the weekends. Wearing a suit makes you look much better and improves your confidence. Something that will help in any field…

    61. arelys521 says:

      At a fancy restaurant for a work function? Make an “okay” sign with both of your hands. Your left hand makes a “b”–that’s for bread. Right hand makes a “d”–for drink. So don’t freaking drink out of the glass to your left! And don’t put your bread on the plate to your right.

      Also, during an interview when the interviewer says, “So, do you have any questions for me?” you’d better have some questions! And intelligent ones too, some that show you know your stuff. Preferably not “what’s the office culture?” because I promise you, that’s what the last 5 people asked.

    62. ‘And you can only wear your hair up in a ponytail, once a week, and that looks like it’s today. And absolutely NO SWEATPANTS’.

      — Gretchen Weiner

    63. pestie says:

      @Eyebrows McGee: That’s it; I’m wearing jeans and a T-shirt to your funeral.

    64. moorie679 says:

      @mac-phisto: Dude i am tired of going back and forth with you….as a current PSU grad yes weird ass coincidence those job fairs are a joke….I went to every single one starting freshman year… and at each instance I printed about 25 resumes and handed out 2….you wanna know why…… cuz the conversation is Hi, nice to meet you….post your resume online…..but hey don’t forget the free pens…..

      In addition I could show up at that career fair if I shelled out 200$ as an employer regardless of me being one or not…not background checks……then I would be the one handing out pens….

    65. Flourishing says:

      Black suits are entirely business inappropriate in most industries. They’re forgivable in more “creative” industries or in cities with little or no style. Otherwise navy and charcoal are the options available, with various patterns. Keep the shirt lighter than the tie (typically in white or blue for conservative professions) and invest in some real shoes (anything under about $200 MSRP isn’t generally worth wearing, and things well over that figure can be had at deep discount in a variety of venues).

    66. jgw says:

      @tozmervo:
      For guys, you should invest in at least one dark grey or navy blue suit for job interviews. Straight black tends to be too severe, and stripes (be they pin, chalk or otherwise) can send off a “party” look. Again, this is broad advice for the scenario in which you would only own a single suit and are wearing it to job interviews. Your mileage may vary. In any case, make sure the suit is made of a decent material (doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive or a designer name), tailored to fit your body, and, most importantly, clean and wrinkle-free for the interview. It should be paired with a white light-colored shirt (nothing flashy or bright) and a sensible, but serious tie. Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean you need to omit all style or fashion sense. Again, this is broad, general advice for typical professional interviews. When I had a Google interview, they told me specifically to dress in business casual, but at investment banking and consulting interviews, it was understood that you would be automatically dinged for not wearing a suit and tie.

      @mac-phisto:
      “two identical candidates with the same resume, other than one is ivy league & one is not will generally both make it to an interview.”

      This depends on how many slots are available. If these two candidates are vying for the same spot, unless the hiring manager shares an alma mater with the non-Ivy-level candidate, the Ivy-level candidate will get the interview every time. Without being elitist, Ivy-caliber schools with good programs relevant to the job interview generally have better students with stronger resumes. Recruiters recognize this statistic and direct their efforts towards recruiting from these preferred schools. For example, investment banks and consulting firms tend to recruit heavily at the top Ivy’s, Stanford, and the like, with the expectation that stellar candidates at other schools will make the extra effort in order to get noticed. I’m sorry, but a 3.5 from Harvard says a whole lot more than a 4.0 from University of Phoenix Online.

      @moorie679:
      Job fairs are primarily an opportunity to schmooze and meet people in the company so you can namedrop them at other events or the interviews. It shows interest in the company if you say “Oh yeah, I was talking to Jenny at the job fair and also at the info session.” Also, never offer your resume, only drop it if they ask you for one. If you offer, they will use your resume to soak up spilled coffe and discard it with all the empty candy wrappers.

    67. mac-phisto says:

      @jgw: i think you’re just reinforcing my statement. it’s the stuff that lies below the 1/2″ that your school takes up on your resume that matters. what i was trying to relate is that a non-ivy student can easily compensate with relevant experience. & for the record, i think a 2.5 from east jabip community college holds more weight than a 4.0 from university of phoenix online.

      @moorie679: i’m a nittany lion, too. you’re right, those job fairs are a joke. don’t be frustrated about your degree. i felt the same way you did when i was unemployed for 6 months out of college. what i realize now is that if i had spent more time gaining experience while i was in school & a little less time smoking pot & drinking monkey boys, i would’ve had something lined up before i graduated.

      joepa got me my first job. no joke. the interviewer & i spent 15 minutes discussing penn state football. i walked out of that interview with a job. i’ve had 3 jobs since. i’ve been through probably a hundred interviews. every interviewer has commented on penn state being a great school. the truth? many of them only knew the name from saturday football, but almost every one said they knew someone who went to penn state.

    68. kracer22 says:

      As for suits, it doesn’t have to be expensive but should look nice and feel comfortable. I think Dark Gray is best, looks and feels more corporate. Also I think its all about balance, work hard, save, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself, since there will be few times in your life where you’ll be independent from your parents and have very few responsibilities.

    69. Brian Gee says:

      @rekoil: And be yourself. ;)

    70. moorie679 says:

      @mac-phisto: Bong water is the greatest monkey boy. But all joking aside man, I did have my shit together, I was just unsuccessful at finding a job and I am bitter. I am also bitter about the experiences that I had in two big corporations….. It seems like everyone is looking for someone below them to bend over and f@ck. People are getting fired at xmas etc. I am just tired of this bullshit man. I had dreams when I was an undergrad and now they are dying……very slowly…..and I am bitter about that. Sorry if this is off topic…. Mac have a nice day bro.

    71. shadowsurfr1 says:

      I’ll second what a lot of people are saying here: 1 page resume. That is all that is needed. It’s a summary, you get to answer in length during the interview.

      Next up, it’s who you know. My girlfriend’s mother works at a large company and she recommended that I apply there for the summer as they often do internships all the time. I went up for an interview a few weeks ago and got a job offer last week. They do take notice if you already know someone there (whether or not they’re even in the same office).

      Use a debit card. No bills to pay for me except for my cell phone. Everything else is bought on debit.

      Lastly, for anyone still in college like me, do summer internships. Especially if there is a potential to return somewhere. I’ve heard of students here who do all their internships at one company and get hired before they graduate. It all comes down to who you know and who knows you.

    72. BrookeMalinky says:

      As a soon-to-be college grad (I graduate this May) I’d like to say that this advice has been very helpful. I’ve heard many of these tips before, especially getting a credit card, consolodating debt and making a budget. My parents remind me of all three of these things constantly. But I guess I never even thought about savng up for retirement now. It makes sense, but I guess I’ve always just thought it’s so far away (40 years or so!) that I never really considered starting now. It’s hard to fathom retirement when I have to worry about finding a job first.
      Something that I’d like to add though, is deleting Facebook and MySpace pages, or at least make profiles private. I’ve heard that employers are beginning to look at these sites more and more. I’ve also been told to try Googling my name to see what comes up, to see if there is any potentially embarrassing or extremely personal information floating around on the web.