6 Tactics to Maximize Your College Grad’s First Salary

  It’s no secret that college grads today are entering a job market that looks nothing like it did when you were just out of school. The economic landscape has drastically changed for this generation and many parents are worried and frustrated that their kids’ future may not be as bright as their own. The good news is that if they are able to maximize their first salary then they will be just fine. The amount of money your child makes in their first salary can drastically affect how much money they make throughout their entire career. Let’s say they are able to get an extra $5,000 in their first salary. If they work for the next 30 years then that’s an additional $150,000 they would have missed out on otherwise. Of course, this is excluding raises or salaries at different jobs which are heavily based on how much money a person has made in the past. In other words, the higher the salary your college grad can start off with, the more money they will make over time. Not just because they are making more money off the bat, but because that figure will allow them to make even more money later on when they negotiate raises or find other jobs. Unfortunately, our colleges aren’t doing a very good job of teaching graduates how to find a job or make money. In fact, many of them are still shelling out the same advice they did in the 90s. As such it’s imperative that your college grad gets advice from someone who has experience in building a career - you.  

Teach them to negotiate.

In the groundbreaking book on negotiation, Women Don’t Ask, the authors spell out the scary future that lies ahead for people who do not negotiate their first salary. For example, women are more likely to miss out on about half a million dollars of lifetime income because they do not tend to negotiate their first salary whereas men do. Bottom line: teach your kid how to negotiate because their career and financial future depends on it.  

Leverage alumni networks.

You already know that often times on the job hunt it’s not what you know but who you know. Advise your college grad to tap into alumni networks and begin connecting with alumni at companies where they would like to work. Alumni are typically extremely happy to help younger generations from their alma mater so make sure to take advantage.  

Use social media and mobile job search tools.

Chances are your college grad is already a whiz at social media. Put your college grad’s tech skills to good use by teaching them how to use those skills to find a job. The important part is that you teach them to use social media to land a job by finding leads, reaching out to recruiters and making connections. You can check out our archives to help get them started. Furthermore, make sure your college grad has mobile-friendly versions of their resumes and uses smartphone apps geared specifically for the job hunt.  

Focus on achievements.

Even though your college grad may be looking at an entry level job and therefore may not have much experience, this will not stop companies from wanting candidates who have a proven track record of success. Teach your college grad to focus on their achievements on their resume and during the interview. This can include achievements from internships, part-time jobs, working in a family business, volunteering or being involved in student organizations while they were in college.  

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