A wise man named once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This wise man was named Benjamin Franklin, and I truly believe he was spot on. It’s too common for college students, and I was not an exception, to procrastinate certain procedures and actions that could contribute to future success. By starting the actions (listed below) early on in college, you will not only have more money in your pocket during college, but you will also be better prepared once you leave.
Effectively budget your money
It might take a month or two in order to establish a solid budget plan, especially if you’re used to living at home. However, being organized and having a budget strategy can be one of the most efficient money saving tools in college. The earlier you learn to budget, the easier the transition is after college.
Groceries, utilities, rent, and transportation costs are just a few monthly expenses that should be budgeted for and recorded. Once a budget allocation is determined for each expense, try and follow it as strictly as possible. If you happen to start over pacing in one expense, try and level it out by slowing the pace of another expense.
While impulse or unnecessary purchases may seem essential at the moment, you must resist the urge to make these buys. Some common money saving tips in college include recording expenses, buying generic brands, taking public transportation, renting cheap textbooks, and choosing the right meal plan.
Learning to use career networks early on
When it comes to utilizing career centers or networking events, you’d be extremely surprised how easily and often these actions are procrastinated.
Whether you already know where you want to work after school, or clueless about where to start, your career center is a great resource for multiple career building opportunities. These resources include, but are not limited to, resume building, mock interviewing, network event schedules, and career information. Don’t hesitate to stop in, the faculty and resources at this center are there to increase your chances of obtaining the job you desire.
A common misconception is that network events and career fairs are only for seniors and recent graduates. If eligible, attend any and every networking event available. I say “if eligible” because career fairs often restrict access to limit the size of the fair to specific interests and/or industries. It’s true what they say about practice; just because you are not looking for a position at that moment, does not mean you shouldn’t be networking for the future. Building relationships is key in any industry, and having connections early on doesn’t hurt.
Social networks are the double edge sword of networking. Depending on how you use them, these networks can either help or hurt your chances of landing a job. Facebook and Twitter are great for communicating and interacting with friends and celebrities, but they are also a great tool for staying connected with specific industries or companies you might be interested in pursuing. A social media caveat, once something is posted on the internet, it can never truly be deleted. Be careful of what you like or post online, you never know who is watching.
LinkedIn is another fantastic social network tool that caters more towards professional networking. It’s never too early to create a LinkedIn account; if you don’t have work experience, list internships or programs that you’d like to showcase. This network does not only show off your experience and knowledge, but it can also be useful for networking with like-minded individuals. More and more companies are utilizing LinkedIn for job application requests. It is imperative that your linkedIn is well written, organized, and thought out. Don’t be afraid to visit the career center for help regarding your LinkedIn account.
Take a personal finance course
Although a personal finance course is not required for all majors, I strongly suggest that every college student enroll into at least one personal finance class before graduating. Whether it’s learning how to budget, paying off debts, investing, building a good credit, or paying taxes – the ability to create and implement a personal finance plan is key in short and long term success.
Become an expert with Excel
Microsoft Excel is one of the most valuable, powerful, and utilized programs in the work force today; Being proficient in Excel is a common qualification on most job postings. Because there are so many applications Excel can be used for, almost every industry implements Excel in every day activity. No matter what company or position you’d like to secure, there’s a good chance you’ll be working in Excel documents. If your university offers a course in advance Excel applications, take it.