Transitioning from College to Career: A Guide for New Grads

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Rebecca Moses
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college graduation celebration

Graduating from college, while a great achievement and cause for celebration, can put many young adults in a difficult position.

Expectations are high for landing the right entry-level position, while for many the threat of student debt and rent create a feeling of financial instability.

This guide is here to help you figure out what you need to know to get on your feet and keep moving, as your academic development turns into professional development.

Young Professionals in the Workforce

generation x y and z explained

The college grads joining the workforce are a combination of younger Generation Y (aka “Millennials”) or the oldest members of Generation Z.

Generation Y is the largest generation in the US workforce right now, and 62 percent of them are already in management positions.

As an individual, you might identify with the term technological native. Your generation is prized among the workforce for its communication skills and technological adaptability.

Young Professional Management Styles

According to general trends, young professional managers often like to coach employees through things rather than issuing commands.

This can allow for greater communication and feedback throughout the workplace.

New generations also prefer more adaptable and customizable experiences, such as personalized workspaces, workflows, and even methods.

Much of this is to a company’s benefit, since emerging technologies, competition, public representation, and social images force many companies to think on their feet when facing crucial decisions.

There is also a greater emphasis on transparency and access.

New generation employees frequently don’t appreciate being held on a need-to-know status. They want to be actively engaged, and when kept in the dark about certain decisions, many young professionals will use their technology and communication skills to sleuth it out anyway.

New Generation Lifestyle Preferences

Many, though not all, young professionals tend to be socially liberal. They work to be open-minded, and they are very aware of identity politics and prefer to remain without labels or generational identifiers.

Young professionals are both highly aware of the power of trends.

This means they work harder to understand people as individuals. College grads have had plenty of nurture versus nature debates in their college years, and due to such cultural and interpersonal examination, young professionals inherently excel in career skills like personal branding.

The lifestyle ideal is sometimes characterized by balance. This means a lot of attention is paid to personal health and hygiene, including dieting and exercise. Many young professionals will link their healthy physical choices to developing a healthy mind and intellectual balance as well.

Challenges for New Generations in the Workforce

work life balance

One of the challenges that newer generations face, as they move forward with their lives and mingle with other generations in the workplace, is that they will often have different priorities from the generations before them.

One theory chalks this up to the young professionals’ access to technology and alternate forms of media that allows you to develop and embrace divergent paths. This means that you or your peers might not be interested in traditional status symbols like property, marriage, and even family-making.

Young professionals are not only distrustful of markets, due to experiencing the Great Recession during formative years, but they are also a generation that tries to keep its ear to the ground and is growing increasingly distrustful of the future due to environmental instability.

These concerns may heavily influence life priorities, including the big priorities of past generations which often included buying a house and making a family.

Among their challenges in the workplace, young professionals positively crave work-life balance.

Finding such a balance can be a major difficulty for them since workplace technologies and their own technological skills often keep them constantly connected even when they aren’t working.

Sometimes the transition from college, especially the liberal arts environment, to the workforce can be jarring simply in the kinds of interaction you will have with coworkers and other employees.

Many college campuses foster the sense of overarching camaraderie throughout the student populace that makes it easier to make friends.

On the other hand, coworker friends might seem to come less easily and might possibly bond less deeply then college friends.

Some company cultures even frown on close friendships between coworkers, for better or worse.

If there’s someone in your office that you think you could really hit it off with, wait for the company happy hour or talk to them on your own time, rather than trying to get to know them in the workplace.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be friendly with your coworkers. You will be spending eight or more hours with them a day, in most cases, so treating them with kindness and respect are nonetheless important for good coworker relationships.

Similarly, the college experience often prides itself on being an open forum for students to develop their mind by voicing ideas and opinions.

While most workplaces value input and would likely benefit from ideas and suggestions, many workplaces will provide a time and a place for sharing these suggestions. So it’s best to think them through fully and then submit them through the proper avenues, rather than interrupting someone’s lunch to chat about them.

What Are Your Goals in Life?

goal setting concept

Why Set Goals?

Transitioning out of college is a great time to set goals for your life.

The next few years will feel like they pass quickly, and it’s easy to be caught feeling unprepared or even unfulfilled after your first few years out of college. This is especially prevalent when you haven’t made steps toward your larger life goals. Setting these goals and thinking about what you want is a necessary step toward making them happen.

Planning is invaluable for helping you know what you want.

You may have things that you want for your life or that will give great personal meaning. There are many things you may not realize that you want until you start thinking about them. And goals like learning a new skill, such as speaking a new language, learning photography, or even experiences, such as hiking the Appalachian trail, will take time, dedication, and practice.

Most of the goals that we really want in life aren’t automatic. They take planning, time, and effort. But learning to plan makes it much more likely that these goals could be accomplished.

How to Begin Goal-Setting

While some people have burning goals inside of them, other might have to dig a little bit to figure out what they want. This can be done with brainstorming. A common brainstorm, often used in financial planning, is to think about your life in terms of year increments.

What kind of lifestyle do you see yourself living in five years? What do you need to do to get there? Ten years down the line? And twenty?

You might also take a more freeform approach asking yourself, what’s important to you? What are you pondering and thinking about lately? Just relax and set down everything that comes to mind.

When it comes to actually setting your goals, you’ll want to narrow this down to the most important factors. Then you can start working on goal plans. It’s usually best to work on your goals one at a time. Too many changes in your life all at once can throw you off your progress, be too difficult, and cause you to revert.

Now take this with a grain of salt, because what we’re really telling you is how important it is to prioritize your time. If one of your goals is a long-term goal that you plan to chip away at weekly, such as a savings goal, then you will most likely have the capacity to take on other goals, such as a skills goal. There are also feasible combination goals, such as weight-loss or muscle-training goals that require both dieting and exercising.

These are two different goals that you’ll pursue at once, as they go hand-in-hand toward the overall purpose.

This single goal rule helps you to avoid burnout.

Many people experience that learning new skills or hobbies take a lot more dedication outside of school.

No one will be grading you or holding your accountable for doing these things but your own will and determination. Your career might also get in the way as it starts to take a massive chunk of your time.

For this reason, if you’re starting a big project, such as a new skill, it’s best to pick one and stick with it until it becomes easier and takes less time and effort.

Keep in mind that your goals are for you.

Many of your peers, friends, and coworkers will have different goals and views.

For instance, you might know that you want to purchase a home someday but many of your friends are more interested in the long-term mobility of renting. Or you might be saving your money for long stints of overseas travel while your peers are able to spend more money on other things.

The spending habits and abilities of others should not influence your individual goals.

Steps to Setting Goals

Steps to Setting Goals

1.  Make Sure Your Goals are Realistic and Possible

You need to begin by believing that your goals can be accomplished. It will be even more difficult to accomplish something that you don’t think will ever really happen.

2. Write Down your Goals and Keep Them Nearby

Write down your goal. This will allow you to create something with your goal. Goals that aren’t written down are more likely to be forgotten. Put it somewhere that you can see it. For this reason, many people create an inspiration wall or cork board of things that remind them of their goals and motivation.

Have a purpose. Your purpose will remind you of why goals are important. Perhaps your goal is a stepping stone to being able to affect bigger changes in the world or in your own life. Having a purpose will affect your determination to achieve your goals.

3. Make a Plan and Keep Track of Progress

Break it down into a plan. What are the steps needed? You may not know all the steps you need to take but that’s okay, you just need to know the first few steps ahead of you. The rest of the path will clarify as you take it. Actionable steps need to happen for you to get going.

4. Don’t Procrastinate

Do it now. Some of our greatest productive time is spend stalling, overthinking, and wondering whether we’re unqualified or good enough. Not only is this stalling faze hard on us emotionally, but it takes away from the time that you could be using to improve your skills and make headway toward your goals.

Stalling takes many forms and is easy to justify to ourselves. Sometimes it means watching video after video or reading informational articles without taking meaningful action. We will always find ways of justifying procrastination to ourselves when we stall. The best thing we can do for ourselves, however, is to start.

5. Find Ways to Hold Yourself Accountable

Seek support and hold yourself accountable. Working toward our goals can be tough. It’s helpful to have friends and mentors who can hold us accountable. Support groups, entrepreneurial groups, and even tracking with your own journal or planner can help to keep your momentum up.

Tips for Setting Goals

Tips for Setting Goals
  • Be positive with your goals. We all have goals that we know to be long shots. But if you are going to actually work toward them, you need to believe that these goals are accomplishable.
  • Make your actionable steps so precise that you can mark it on a calendar.
  • If you have multiple goals, make sure you know which ones top your priorities.
  • Start a journal to mark down your goal progress.
  • Set your own realistic goals and have confidence in them. It’s common when you tell someone that you’re starting a project, including friends, family, and employers, that they show support and enthusiasm by raising the stakes of the goal.
  • You might tell someone that you’re writing a book and they will express their confidence in you by saying something like they’re sure it’s going to be a bestseller. This could make you feel as if they’ve co-opted the goal and transformed much less realistic write a bestseller.
  • Keep in mind that these are your goals and it’s up to you to set the realistic parameters that you need for your own best performance.
  • Learn from your process. If you notice something as you work toward your goal that would alter how you would approach your next goal.
  • Challenge yourself. If you finish a goal too easily make the next one harder.

What Are SMART Goals?

Smart goals refer to goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

When brainstorming your SMART goals, you can pick the categories that are important to you and then select goals for each category.

Common categories include:

  • Career
  • Financial
  • Education
  • Family
  • Artistic
  • Attitude
  • Physical
  • Pleasure
  • Public service

Making SMART goals can help you to finetune the things you want to achieve into actions that you can take in the time you have.

A SMART goal is the difference between writing down that you “want to bike across the country,” and adding a time-bound parameter by saying you “want to bike across the country in the Spring of 2020.”

This time-bound component is especially relevant for financial goals. For instance, knowing that you want to buy a home in 2022 tells you how much money you need to be able to put away monthly to meet that downpayment goal.

How Much Do You Spend Now?

Starting a healthy budget begins with knowing your typical expenditures. While you have a feel for how much you spend every month, it’s helpful to use a calculator like this one while budgeting.

  • Household Bills, e.g. rent, electricity, natural gas, water, sewage, trash collection
  • Living costs, e.g. daily spending habits
  • Financial products, e.g. insurance
  • Family and friends, e.g. presents
  • Travel, e.g. car costs and maintenance costs, gas, public transport
  • Food and Dining, e.g. bar and restaurant costs
  • Grocery, e.g. food materials that you purchase to prepare yourself
  • Leisure, e.g. holidays, sports
  • Hygiene products, e.g. soap, wash, makeup, and cosmetics

Putting your expenditures in different categories can help you examine your spending habits, and decide whether it’s all necessary.

How to Set Up a Budget

budget planning concept

If one of your goals is the learn how to budget your money and become more financially responsible, you’re not alone. Budgeting in its most basic form helps you to manage your money. It gets a bad rap, similar to dieting, for being restrictive of for forcing you to stop enjoying yourself.

This isn’t always the case, however, as budgeting has numerous life-enhancing benefits. Like goals, your budget helps you plan for the future. For one, it allows you to feel that you have control over your money and your spending. It also keeps you focused on your money goals, which can make you feel trapped or overwhelmed without a plan.

Budgeting has many benefits and is recommended for everyone who manages their own finances. It can give you a peace of mind and grasp on the cost of your day to day spending.

Budgeting gives you the padding and security to deal with unexpected costs. Having an updated budget gives you the right information to help you with long-term and short-term decision-making. Your budget will also allow you to spot and solve big problems in advance.

The more comfortable you are with budgeting, the easier it will be to communicate about money and problem-solve with partners and loved ones. This can help you to get a grasp on your debt load and think of whether you can take on more, such as a car loan or mortgage.

Build an Emergency Fund

Your emergency fund is a savings account that you don’t use unless you find yourself in the midst of a big financial emergency or something goes afoul with your employment. Your first saving project should be working to establish your emergency fund.

If you look above where you laid out how much money you spend each month, many advisors will recommend an emergency fund that can get you through three months of normal expenditures. Once you have that set aside in an accessible savings account, you can start saving toward your other financial goals.

Budgeting Strategies

The Envelope System

If you have difficulties with overspending throughout the month, try out the envelope system. Keep your weekly allowance of cash in an envelope with you. Spend only cash or if you make a purchase online with credit remove the cash and put it in a separate envelope. When you spend all the money in the envelope, you have used your weekly budget.

Automatic Savings Deposits

Schedule automatic savings. Automatic savings will transfer a certain amount of money from your checking account to your assigned savings account. This will let you stay on track with your savings goals when you forget to transfer the money yourself.

You can, start small with growing your savings account, then gradually grow the amount that you save, as you become comfortable with budgeting and as you earn more.

What Do Spend Your Money on Now?

One way to start noticing your expenditures is to spend a month collecting receipts or printing receipts from bills and everything you purchase throughout the month into one envelope. This will help you to understand by the end of the month where all your money is going.

Tips On How to Save Money

Eliminating Unnecessary Costs and Fees

Eliminate Unnecessary Fees

  • Make sure you aren’t paying bank fees for either your checking or savings accounts. Sometimes banks require your account to hold minimum balances or a direct deposit wired into your account. If you are unable to meet the minimums, switch to a new account. There is no reason to pay these fees as there are a number of account tiers available as you get started on your financial journey. While shopping around check out accounts that offer a sign-up bonus to make a little extra.
  • Save on energy by installing a smart thermostat, as well as CFL and LEDs. You might also consider outlet timers for your electronic banks to switch off the energy to printers and other home electronics at night.
  • Maintenance your possessions, including your car, kitchen appliances, and computer. Furniture maintenance and carpet cleaning could also save your investments and give them a longer lifespan.
  • Examine and cancel unused subscriptions, such as gym memberships, cable, phone plans, and wifi usage, as well as club and subscription boxes.
  • Keep and eye on services that might be inflating your bills.
  • Consolidate your student loans into a low-rate package.
  • Use online bill pay to avoid unnecessary late fees.

Embrace Thrifty Lifestyle Choices

Embracing Thrifty Lifestyle Choices
  • Sell off unwanted items and clutter.
  • Make plans to stay in with your friends rather than going out for expensive dinners and drinks.
  • Learn to patch clothes and sew and replace buttons, instead of throwing away usable clothing.
  • Use a public library for a variety of services and resources, including borrowing books, movies, and magazines, as well as inexpensive public workspaces where you don’t need to purchase a beverage before use.
  • Buy used items, such as clothing and dishware.
  • Pack your lunch for work, and learn to jazz up your leftovers.
  • Learn to DIY simple household fixes.
  • Use a deep-freezer or chest-freezer. These spaces allow you to buy food ingredients in bulk and cook in batch, making your own frozen meals for later.
  • Go out to free events in town. Keep an eye on festival markets, free markets, free community concerts, and other free activities will help you get out of the house on the cheap.
  • Start an indoor or outdoor container garden. This is a great option for someone who loves to cook with herbs and spices but it starting to find it a little expensive.
  • Get a friend to cut your hair and do a DIY spa and facial day.
  • Try out DIY cleaning supplies, which are both less expensive, and offer reduced health and environmental risks within your home.
  • Make your own coffee and beverages.

Control Your Spending

Tips for Controlling Your Spending
  • Avoid impulse purchasing by waiting thirty days to decide on bigger purchases. If, after a month, the urge to buy hasn’t passed, it could be something that you really want.
  • Make a shopping list when you go out to buy groceries and household items. Shop at inexpensive stores and save the higher tier stores for purchasing the occasional specialty item.
  • When you do make a large purchase, such as a new appliance, make sure that you buy a model that is hardy and built to last.
  • When you know online purchases are a problem, remove your credit card number from express checkouts so that you will need to enter it every time.
  • Calculate purchases by your hourly income rather than the dollar amount.
  • Implement no spend days weekly. These are days that you prepare your own food and don’t online shop.

5 Things You Should Be Doing Immediately After Graduation

1. Decide on Housing

decide where to live and with who

Deciding on housing after college can easily make people feel unsettled or directionless. If you know where you’ll be living, you might have a lot of confidence in your career path. Your housing decision is wrapped up in where you plan on going to make your career, what your job prospects are, and what kind of support you have.

Many young professionals spend a year or so moving back in with parents or relatives after college until they are able to get on their feet. This gives them the opportunity to learn to budget, build savings, and develop a plan without having to pay steep rent prices. While generous and certainly a leg up, many find the lifestyle to be rather restrictive and eventually decide to move out.

Others may not have this option. This is when it’s good to ask yourself whether you’re better off getting a roommate or going it alone. Sharing expenses with a roommate offers considerable financial relief as you get started with your career.

A good roommate can also offer solidarity and a relief from feeling alone if you’re in a new place or new situation. However, a bad roommate situation can exacerbate these issues, possibly causing you to feel more alone, unsupported, or uncomfortable in your living space. Essentially a good roommate can help you through a difficult time, and a bad roommate might make everything feel exponentially worse.

The best way to judge whether or not you need a roommate, besides looking at rent prices and your potential finances, is to think about what you personally need. Are you the sort of person who has a difficult time being alone and finds yourself seeking out friends? Or are you the sort of person who really values your alone time, and looks forward to making your adult home a personal space for yourself? Living alone gives you the benefit of fewer distractions when you’re trying to focus, an environment that reflects your personal preferences, and a space to rest and relax alone.

2. Update Your Wardrobe

focus on your wardrobe

Appearances can matter greatly when it comes to how people will treat you in the workforce. Your clothes should fit correctly and be age appropriate. They should also allow you to be comfortable in your own skin. If you dislike the feel of a certain fabric or fit, that discomfort will show an impact others’ perceptions, as well as how you feel throughout your day. Just be sure to get rid of the old as you bring in the new. You may also want to be careful about things such as piercings and tattoos. If you want to add a bit more individuality to your wardrobe, then you should consider some accessories.

Learning to dress for your career doesn’t need to be a matter of buying high-priced outfits. Since every office is a little different, and you may not know exactly what you need until your first week or so. Waiting until you’re on the job to purchase your work wardrobe may make you feel like you’re on a time crunch, but it could save you from expensive, unnecessary purchases in the long run.

Sports shoes and sportswear are usually not acceptable in most office settings. Suits and shoes are noted as the best place to splurge on your work wardrobe since these pieces will last a long time. Items like shirts and pants will stain and undergo more wear and tear, meaning that they will need to be replaced more often. Nevertheless, one staple piece to get you started is a nice pair of pants that aren’t jeans (or designer sweatpants).

Keep It Simple with a Capsule Wardrobe

office capsule wardrobe

Capsule wardrobes feature versatile separates in neutral colors that you can mix and match. This wardrobe strategy recommends an investment in a few essential and timeless items that can be supplemented with seasonal pieces. And if you’re interested in even more minimalism than that you might consider a personal uniform for yourself that will help you to look professional every day without having to stress over wardrobe choices and appropriateness.

To get started, go through your wardrobe and figure out what you do have, and then fill in the gaps from there. Buy for versatility, so that everything can be worn multiple ways without having items that only fit with one outfit. This also means learning how to dress minimally so that it’s much easier to mix and match your clothes. You can then use accessories, such as an attractive watch or seasonal scarf, to add a little more character when you want to.

3. Prepare Your Kitchen: Quick and Easy Recipes On the Go

healthy meal preparation and planning

Meal prepping refers to cooking a large batch of quick, combination-style meals that you can put into containers for grab and go lunches. This can help you to save time, and money, in the long run, while allowing you to feel organized when it comes to your lunch hour. Here are a few quick ones to try out:

  • Burrito Bowl – Burrito bowls often combine salad, beans, rice, a stir-fry with veggies and meat, and some form of salsa or guacamole into a single container meal. These can be endlessly varied based on different preferences, including the use of different kinds of spices, for example, lime-cilantro one week and south-west chipotle the next, and different ingredients to keep you from growing too burnt out on this all-in-one meal.
  • Skewers – Skewers are a very useful grab-and-go option since they do not require you to have silverware or even a normal plate and bowl. Skewers can be put in a bag and eaten with a napkin and possibly a dipping sauce. These can be anything from salad skewers, with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, to chicken skewered along with grilled or roasted vegetables.
  • Egg Cups – Great for breakfast, egg cups are made from using egg to bind together some of your favorite ingredients. Do this by lining and greasing a muffin tin and the ingredients that you want in the mix. This can include potatoes, fried vegetables, onions, tomatoes, and basically anything that you would normally add to a quiche. Then bake these in the oven at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until the eggs are completely set.
  • Meat, Spinach, or Vegetable Hand Pie – Hand pies take more work in the prep stage; however, many can be made at once and frozen for later. Hand pies can be very nutritious, depending on the filling you choose and easy to eat on the go. Fillings, such as spinach and cheese, or lean sausage and vegetables, can be mixed raw and then cooked in the oven inside the pie crust. You can either put together your own pie crust and roll it out to shape individual pies by placing the filling in the center and sealing the pie crust around it, or you can buy pre-made pie crust from the store.
  • Smoothies – Smoothies are quickly made in the blender, often taking just a few minutes to prep the ingredients and toss them in. Smoothies are easily portable in a water bottle and one of the best parts about it is the minimal cleanup after prepping since many blenders can even wash themselves. Common smoothies include frozen and fresh fruit, a caffeine element, such as green tea, fruit juices, and greens, such as kale and spinach.

4. Update Your Social Media and LinkedIn

social media image

It’s no secret the employers and recruiters look at social media accounts when vetting applicants for a position. In fact, this survey found that 70 percent of employers are likely to snoop on applicants’ social media profiles as well as googling an applicant. It’s no wonder why they check, since there’s a lot of information that they can get from the way an individual represents themselves on these networks.

social media image

When you start prioritizing building your career, we recommend taking a second and thinking over how appropriate your posts are. However, this doesn’t mean that social media only hurts your chances of getting a job. In fact, there are many situations where it can actually help you.

Here are things employers and recruiters want to see on your social accounts:

  • They hope to find information that supports your job qualifications. For instance, does your application say that you have great communication skills? Social media is a venue for demonstrating your ability for expression, diplomacy, and engagement in your chosen industry.
  • They like to see that you have any professional persona online at all. Some people keep social media sites just for connecting with friends and family. As long as these profiles are good, clean fun, that’s usually just fine. However, to show a more professional side of yourself, you can design a professional domain for yourself or use a well-known work-oriented social networking site like LinkedIn.
  • Employers are also looking at what other people are posting about you. If you have a positive standing among your peers and family members, this will be easy to maintain.
  • They want to see great communication skills and even a little creativity and personality.

What should you not post?

  • 39 percent of employers say that they won’t hire a candidate who posts provocative or inappropriate photos, videos, or information. You don’t have to be the source of this content to be flagged either, so it’s best to be careful of what you share.
  • 38 percent of employers have rejected candidates for posting information about drinking or using drugs. So if you do have photos where you are visibly inebriated or partying, you might want to remove those or set more strict privacy standards on them.
  • 32 percent have flagged candidates for posting discriminatory content regarding race, gender, or religion.
  • Another red flag is complaining about or bad-mouthing a coworker, previous employer, work situation, or coworker.
  • 27 percent say they flag you if they find that you’ve lied about your qualifications, or display poor communication skills.
  • Avoid being linked to criminal behavior.
  • Don’t share confidential information from a previous employer.
  • Avoid using unprofessional screen names or handles.
  • Lying about absences or sick days can get you fired.
  • 17 percent of employers even flag users who post too frequently.

LinkedIn Etiquette

Nevertheless, you need a professional online presence. 57 percent of employers note that they are less likely to call a candidate that has no online presence at all. One of the easiest ways to do this is to connect professionally with LinkedIn.

However, experiences on LinkedIn may feel a little different from your other social networking experiences, since it is a professional network. LinkedIn most often functions with normal professional communications and posting etiquette. It’s a good place to show new skills that you’re working on, and classes that you’re taking toward your professional development. Any content that you post on LinkedIn should be work appropriate and in most cases work-oriented. Similar to office rules, LinkedIn is less of a place to air political views and opinions than it is to connect to individuals within your industry.

5. Network and Visit Events Related to Your Career

business network event

Many colleges bring networking events to campus to get you started. You might be familiar with career fairs and even particular events meant to introduce you to aspects of specific careers.

These kinds of events are still around as you transfer to developing your career, though it may require you to seek them out. Networking opportunities take the form of anything from Ignite events to city-wide career fairs, company happy hours, industry happy hours, and even entrepreneurial groups for those considering starting their own projects.

A great way to begin networking is to ask people who are successful in your chosen career path and industry what education measures they took and whether they would recommend it. You can email professionals in your field offering to buy them coffee so that they might meet with you and answer some questions about their career. While many emails will be ignored and many will be too busy, you might find one or two people who are happy to meet with you.

Applications to Help You Succeed in Life

It’s no secret that most young professionals are constantly connected. In some cases, this can be a cause for concern, but it also means having the know-how to use productivity applications to make your life easier, more flexible, and help manage your time. Here are some apps that we think spectacularly help with goals of personal growth and development:

  • Forest – Forest is a great way to put down your phone when you need to focus on an activity or task. Once you start a timer on Forest, you begin building a tree. Accessing other applications on your phone will force you to cancel out of the tree. It’s a great way to make yourself think twice before looking at something on your phone.
  • Productive Habit Tracker – This application allows you to track daily habits and work towards your goals. The ability to see your daily progress makes a good incentive for you to keep up with your goal plans.
  • Evernote – This is a powerful all-in-one cloud notebook app that allows you to clip pieces from the web while also taking notes on all your devices.
  • Pocket– When you’re browsing online but don’t have the opportunity to read every interesting article you come across, Pocket allows you to save content to read and look through at a better time.
  • TripIt– TripIt helps you organize your travel plans and itineraries so that you can keep everything in one place.

Continuing Education and Advancing Your Career

career advancement and learning

Further education might be something to keep in mind as you look at your career going forward. One of the best ways to determine whether further education will benefit you is to look at qualification requirements and to speak with professionals in your field.

Professional degrees are required for advancement in many traditional fields, such as medicine and law. Graduate school becomes necessary for most individuals wanting to practice scientific research and development, as well as some technology-based careers. Education careers will require degrees, such as Education degrees, Masters, or Doctoral degrees, as well as additional certifications, depending on your location and educational niche. Some might also consider adding a Business degree to their C.V. to receive management credentials.

If you’re considering further education, it’s crucial to have a mentor who can help you determine your career goals and professional development. In some cases, this mentor is an academic advisor, but many will find mentors who are in their professional field. One way to begin this is to look for individuals who exemplify your goals within your field. Try to find local professionals that you can actively approach and network with, as well as high-profile national and international names in your field.

For those unsure of how they want to develop, entry-level continuing education takes a variety of forms from classes offered from a variety of sources. These include accredited universities and individual organizations, as well as free library lectures and unaffiliated language learning groups.

Keep in mind that many universities offer career counseling services to alumnae for about a year after graduation. Many of these career centers also offer continuing education courses and networking events as well.


We know you have a lot to think about as you transition, but this is also a fun time to take in a lot of experiences and learn for yourself the way that you want to use your time and money. Setting goals and budgeting can set you on the right path for designing a fulfilling and enjoyable professional life for yourself.


  • Rebecca Moses

    Depending on the day, you’ll find Rebecca in a well thought-out ensemble that she handcrafted herself, or in hiking and rock climbing gear. An avid outdoorswoman, cyclist, and cat lover, Rebecca reminds us all on the Groom+Style team just how much we need to get outdoors. She’s worked in spas and salons off and on before going full-time with the G+S team. Linkedin: