Tag Archive | "job"

Getting a job after college takes at least two years

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Getting a job after college takes at least two years

One of the best professors that I ever had in college gave me on the first day of class some of the best advice I ever received. He told my class that getting a good job would take at least two years and that we needed to start immediately. I took that advice to heart.

Did I end up with my dream job? Honestly, no I didn’t. But I did end up with a good job that has provided me with a lot of experience and a decent loving for my family. Further, the steps I took while earning my undergrand and the experience I’ve had since graduating has led me to being accepted to some top ranked MBA programs.

I’m going to walk through some of the important steps that you should be taking while an undergrad. I will also explain why each step matters as I go along. Also, if you have any advice, please leave it in the comments section.

Happy Employees

Very first – get to know the people in your career services center

Most undergraduate programs or universities offer career services. These individuals should be your best friends. They know when recruiters are coming to campus, what you need to do to apply and often have connections that otherwise would not be available to you.

Spend some time in your career services center learning about the process of getting a job in your industry. Ask lots of questions. As you progress through your undergrad, stop back by and make sure that you are on track to getting a good job.

Complete a summer internship between your junior and senior year

You may have multiple opportunities to complete internships (take them!). But at a minimum, you need to complete an internship during the summer before your senior year.

  • First, internships often lead to a job with the same company. I had the opportunity to intern at Kohl’s corporate office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Two days after completing the internship, I was offered a full time job starting upon graduation.
  • Apply early. If you wait to apply for internships, then you may miss the deadline to apply. Honestly, you should start looking at who will be recruiting at your university about week two of the Fall semester. Doing your research well in advance will also help you know what courses you may need to take to qualify for specific internships.
  • Apply to a lot of different companies. You never know where you will be accepted and you might be surprised at what you end up choosing/liking. When I first applied for the internship with Kohl’s, I did so because I had some friends that had enjoyed their internship there. During the application and interview process, I became very excited about the opportunity and placed Kohl’s at the top of my list. Also, the old adage, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” comes to mind.
  • Be willing to work for free. I know that you are an undergrad and that money is probably tight. But getting good experience on your resume will help you in getting a good job after graduation. Most companies won’t ask you to work for free, but some will. If the company or experience is good, then be willing to work for free.

I can’t say enough about preparing early, applying to multiple companies and completing a summer internship or two.

Third, excel in school

I skipped a lot of classes in high school. I was almost on a first name basis with everyone who worked at McDonald’s during my second hour class. That attitude all changed once I started college. I realized that I was now choosing and paying to be in school. So if I was going to be there, I might as well get everything I can out of it. I only missed 2-3 classes total each semester. I intentionally took hard classes and pushed myself. There were nights when I was cursing at the homework assignments because I just didn’t get it. But by the end, I was almost always at the top of my class. Developing a habit of hard work and dedication has served me both in getting what I want in life as well as keeping what I want.

Put the time in now for a few years and you will reap benefits for decades. I’m not saying to lock yourself up. I still socialized and dated quite a bit. I even got married and had a kid before I graduated. So if I could find the time to study and work hard, so can you.

Last, apply for jobs early and often

Very much like applying for internships, you need to start early. Here’s what I recommend.

  • Target specific companies two years before you graduate. Know who you want to work for and what it will take to get a job offer. And it’s okay to change your list as you learn more about your industry and those companies. The point is to have a plan of attack.
  • Use your network to get interviews. Upper-class men who have already had internships or have job offers can help you with everything from basic questions to getting interviews. Make friends with students that are older than you.
  • Don’t let rejection bother you. Let me be the first to tell you that you will be rejected, maybe a lot. That’s fine. Just keep working towards your goals. Where you end up may surprise you, but I bet you will be satisfied.

If you aren’t working hard towards a good job, your classmates who are will beat you out.

For more information about financial planning and careers, follow Rabbit Funds on Twitter. Also, this post was featured in the 340th edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance hosted at Young Adult Finances.

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5 Ways to use your talents to earn some extra money

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5 Ways to use your talents to earn some extra money

I recently wrote about how to start a home based business. The very first step is to come up with an idea for your business. I want to delve a little more into this phase and give some suggestions.

I’ve created a list of five businesses that you could start that I’ve seen be successful. Let me define successful, though, as bringing in extra income – not as replacing the primary source of income. That’s not to say that your business can’t or won’t become your primary source of income.

My strongest suggestion when deciding what to do is to make sure that you pick something about which you are passionate.

Baked Goods

Baked goods

Of all the suggestions for home based businesses on my list today, this is the only one that is goods based. Meaning, all of the other suggestions offer an intangible service. Baked goods are a physical product. And although you may end up on a Girl Scout hit list, baking goods generally exploits using the appliances and resources already in your kitchen. You just need to buy the ingredients.

Look to create something either unique and/or that makes life easier. For example, a simple but tasty dessert can be very unique and fun. Or consider making everyday meals that families can then just freeze. That way, they can just pull it out of the freezer and heat. Thus, saving time on shopping and food preparation.

If you plan to offer your baked goods online, then recognize that shipping costs can eat up a lot of your profit (especially if it has to ship cold or frozen). So define a geographic region that you can profitably serve. Conversely, you may end up creating something with so little demand that you have to offer it online just to get enough customers.

Please make sure you research all of the required licenses such as a Food Handlers permit.

Kids at Daycare


Another service that you can offer out of your home. As long as you can tolerate several screaming children and have the space in your home, then daycare can be an excellent side income. Again, you will need to check your state’s laws and regulations to make sure that you can offer the service in your home. Also, you may be required to carry extra insurance.

One interesting regulation, at least in my state, for daycares is the adult to child ratio. Meaning, as you grow, you will have to hire additional staff since you are allowed to only watch so many kids per adult. Though, growth and needing more resources are usually good problems to have.

Face Painting

Face painting

Put that A- minus you got in your high school art class to good use. Face painting has very low overhead (meaning expenses to run the business) but you can make a lot of money on a per hour basis if you are fast.

If you offer the service at parties, then you can charge either a flat rate or a per child rate or a flat rate plus a per child rate. Though, if you are doing face painting at a fair or special event, then you will most likely pay for the space. I’m not saying to avoid doing it at fairs, but just be aware of the cost.

Another fantastic venue is outside of sporting events. Depending on your city’s ordinances, you may be able to set-up shop outside of the event for free. Every little kid walking by will want his or her face painted. And probably plenty of adults too.

If the demand is high enough, you can also get pretty cheap, temp labor from the local college or high school to help out at big events.

Ballet Lessons


Pretty generic title I know. Make a list of all your hobbies, talents and skills. I’ll bet there is something on that list that you are pretty good at and that others would like to learn as well. For example, piano lessons, dance lessons, language skills, sports, etc.

My wife and I have a lot of experience in this area. We started teaching swimming lessons several years ago. My wife swam competitively and coached for many years before we got married. So she woke up one morning and announced, “We are going to start a swim school.” Three years later, we have more clients than we can serve, multiple employees, and several locations where we coach.

So if you are passionate about something and have the right skills, then investigate whether or not others would like to learn the same skill.

House Cleaning

House cleaning services

Being business owners, we find that during our peak season we fall behind in several day-to-day tasks such as cleaning our home. So frankly, we hire a house cleaner to take care of the dishes, laundry, sweeping, etc (lame I know). But it’s a life saver for us. So house cleaning is a great service to offer other business owners.

The trade off for us is obvious. My wife can spend two hours cleaning or two hours making money (and she makes more in those two hours working than we pay a house cleaner).

My point is that when starting a business, consider who can really benefit from your product or service. Many times, you’ll find that you are servicing another business in some way. And businesses are often more willing to pay than consumers. I wouldn’t get a house keeper just because, but if it helps make me more money, then dang straight I will.

What other side businesses have you seen be successful? Follow us on Twitter for more info and articles like this one.

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