Five Tips for New College Grads

Are you a new college graduate experiencing what economists are calling the worst time in history to be looking for a job? 1 If so, you’re not alone. There are tens of thousands of college grads facing an uncertain future, navigating paying off student debt and so much more. How can you overcome these fears and use them to your advantage? Consider these five tips for dealing with the unknown:

  1. Be of service. Look for ways to use your skills to benefit a volunteer agency, charity, faith-based organization, or non-profit. Service work not only looks good on a resume but helps you build connections in a positive way. The stories of what you did while volunteering your time and talents can also help you stand out in interviews as you start applying for jobs.2
  2. Develop your skills. Keep honing your talents while you position yourself to get hired for a job. Finding ways to develop certain unique skills, such as familiarizing yourself with a particular programing language or software package used in the career field you’re seeking employment in can help demonstrate your work ethic.2
  3. Be open to new opportunities. Lowering your expectations when it comes to landing your dream job may actually help you in the future. Competition for jobs right now is brutal but taking unwanted experience in your field in order to pay the bills is an opportunity that can give you an edge over individuals who may not be familiar with industry know-how you could gain by that opportunity.3 You can even get a part-time side gig in a different field to explore a new career that could turn into something bigger.
  4. Make saving a priority. Once you are earning income, start paying yourself first by automating money straight into a savings account from every paycheck before you pay bills or spend money on anything else. That way, you don’t even have to think about saving and you can get ahead in the savings game right out of the gate. Remember – it’s not what you make, but what you keep, and as a young person just starting out, time (and compound interest over time) are to your advantage.4
  5. Practice sensible personal finance habits. Follow your heart, take risks, try new things, but develop a habit to live frugally, follow a budget, don’t abuse credit and stay on top of your expenses. Being wise with your money when you first start making it will certainly pay off in the long run.


  1., “The Job Market Is a Mess Because of the Coronavirus. Here’s What Recent Graduates Can Expect,” June 2, 2020
  2. Harvard Business Review, “Graduates, Position Yourselves to Get Hired,” June 12, 2020
  3., “Advice to the Class of 2020 from People Who Graduated During the Great Recession,” April 27, 2020
  4., “Money, Career and Life Advice for the Graduating Class of 2020,” June 1, 2020