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Despite every college’s attempt to arm its students with all the knowledge and hands-on skills, higher education and its respective curriculum cannot fully cover what these aspiring professionals will need for their first jobs fresh out of college. But maybe these 5 career tips can.

5 career tips to get it started

Here are five career tips you’ll want to know when you’ve landed your first paying job.

1. Review the fine print

Just like how commercial brands try to upsell their products/services with devious marketing tactics and tricky wordings, employers can also make their job offerings more alluring with verbal statements that suggest competitive work perks and the best office environment and yet fail to deliver it on paper.

Once you are hired for a job, the company’s HR department will likely send you a written offer letter.

Review it carefully to make sure all pre-agreed-upon terms have been included in the binding contract.

If not, don’t hesitate to call the company for revisions. It’s best to settle this issue prior finalizing the paperwork.

2. Set up a pension plan

When you start your first real-world job, you might want to think about the long-term contributions to your retirement.

The pension schemes vary depending on the country you are working in. However, in the USA there is a 401(k) plan to secure your retirement.

Keep in mind that not all employers offer this option immediately or at all. If they do, sign up and start accumulating funds into that account, maximizing your contributions if possible.

The earlier you start making contributions to your 401(k), the faster you’ll grow your retirement fund. Typically, 401(k) participants allocate five to seven percent of their paychecks. Aside from 401(k) contracts, see if your employer also provides reimbursements for Master’s or specialization programs.

3. Maintain a strict budget

Receiving your first paycheck is undoubtedly exciting and euphoric, yet it should also be coupled with fiscal responsibility and firm budgeting practices.

The first three to six months of your job will be fragile as this is usually the probationary period that employers impose on their new hires.

If your employer fires you right after hiring you or you are dissatisfied with the work environment and resign, your outstanding debt from credit cards and mortgages can quickly pile up and disable you financially.

4. Work towards ownership

Being a homeowner should be one of your ultimate goals after landing and keeping a steady job. Renting an apartment is, of course, a viable means of living, but it’s not a fiscally sound long-term solution.

Gradually paying off a house or condominium unit in a 20- or 30-year mortgage contract sounds terrifying, but it’s much easier to invest in a house at a young age since there are less financial responsibilities to deal with, such as medical expenses and children.

When investing in a house, location is one of the key determinants of future resale value. Crime mapping the area to see its potential future demand is a prudent investment decision that can have dramatic financial impact years from now.

5. Network with co-workers

Commensurate with one’s technical abilities is how well he/she integrates with coworkers and the work environment.

Networking on your first day or even before your start date makes it easier to perform your duties on a daily basis by removing the normal pressures of being the “new guy/girl” in the office.

Network via LinkedIn or your company’s chatroom. Offer to buy coffee for a coworker and he/she may just rescue you in times of dire need in the office.

Additionally, keep in touch with your supervisor or employer. You never know if there are follow-up procedures that need to be addressed by new hires, such as drug screening and vaccinations.

Getting the job is only half of the uphill battle. You’ll want to know what to do with your time and energy after you get the job. This affords an effortless transition into your new company.

How do you find these career tips? How did you go about your first job?
Let me know in the comments below.

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