This month, a huge batch of 20-somethings will be loosed upon the country with shiny new degrees in hand. We’ve crowd-sourced advice for the graduates of 2012 from our host of writers based on their areas of expertise. Here are 25 pearls of wisdom from Forbes. Spend them wisely.
Via Monte Burke, who covers the world of sports and is, of course, a player on the Forbes “Capitalist Tools” softball team:
1. Remember your sporting endeavors in college, be it intramural or Division one? Keep playing. Join the company softball team. Play soccer in the park. Sometimes, there’s no better way to network and make new friends.
2. Volunteer as a youth coach. Most youth leagues—be it soccer or baseball—need more coaches. Admit it, you always wanted to be Tony La Russa.
3. Schedule at least one get-together a year with your best college buddies. Every year, I get together with 12 of my former classmates for an event we rather grandly call “the Olympics.” We pick teams, wear uniforms and play seven different events (mini golf, tennis, punt-pass-kick, bowling, soccer, bocce, touch football). We have a trophy that is half the size of the Stanley Cup, with each year’s winners engraved on the side. It is one of the most anticipated weekends of each year, a sort of mini-college reunion.
Via Markets writer Abram Brown:
4. Encourage well-wishers to buy you Facebook stock.
Via our editor for Asia John Koppisch:
5. Look for your first job in Asia. Economies are booming and companies are often desperate for educated and skilled job seekers. English-speaking cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore, especially, have almost no unemployment and quickly absorb anyone qualified who lands on their shores. Often you can get hired by a Western company, quickly get promoted because of the fast growth, and then after a few years move back to the States with that company.
Daniel Fisher, our expert on the world of law, says:
6. Pick where you want to work and take any job you can get there. Smart people will rise in any organization.
Via our expert on Anonymous, Parmy Olson:
7. Be annoyingly proactive to land your first job. Don’t just send a CV, but follow up with a phone call, and give the person that answers examples of how you will actually help their organization. This requires doing some extra work but is worth it in the end.
8. Never, ever burn bridges. You may despise certain folks at college or on an internship, but thanks to karma and coincidence those connections will come in handy further along your career.
9. Don’t worry about not knowing what you want to do. This is very normal and means you are human. You may not know for sure till you are 30 or even 40, but ensure that indecisiveness doesn’t stop you from trying different jobs. Your career is a journey, so enjoy the experience of learning new things and meeting new people.
Tech writer Connie Guglielmo offers advice on maximizing your LinkedIn profile:
10. Customize your URL on LinkedIn. LinkedIn will automatically assign you a URL, which is random and has nothing to do with your name necessarily. Click on “Edit profile,” then, “Public profile.” In the right-hand column, select “Your URL” and type in a URL that reflects who you are.
11. LinkedIn Keywords: Keywords are how recruiters do job searches. Understand what keywords you should be using to describe yourself.
12. Don’t exaggerate your credentials on your resume or on LinkedIn. Ask Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson about the downsides of that.
Recent grad Miguel Morales on landing your dream job:
13. Go out for drinks with friends, even when you don’t want to. Your dream job isn’t going to fly through your bedroom window. Chances are it’s coming from one of your friends.
Via Ashlea Ebeling and Deborah Jacobs who cover the complex world of tax and personal finance:
14. Once you have earnings, start saving for retirement through an employer-based 401(k) account and/or an individual retirement account (a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA). For 2012, you can sock away up to $17,000 into a 401(k) and up to $5,000 into an IRA.
15. If you can, make your 401(k) contributions Roth IRA-style rather than traditional. When you withdraw the money in retirement (many, many years from now) you will not have to pay income tax on it. So you get many years of tax-free appreciation.
16. Don’t go to law school unless you really think you will love being a lawyer. If you’re not sure, work as a paralegal for a couple of years to get a better idea of what lawyers really do.
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