This New College Grad Still Had a Few Things to Learn

By Guest Blogger Kelly T.

many new grads are moving back home due to financial instability

When I graduated from Hofstra University in 2010, I had a world full of options available to me! Although I had $90K in student loan debt, I was confident that I would find a great job that I loved. I was ready to move on to the next phase of my life — I was now an independent adult!

Like so many of my peers, when I graduated I did not have a job lined up. But, I was not worried. I would get a temporary job for a few months before I landed my dream job. Well, my reality was not quite as ideal as I had pictured. Sure, I did get a temp job, but it was not easy. And the $16 an hour wage did not even come close to paying my bills. You see, when you have ninety thousand dollars in loans, they expect you to somehow pay $775 a month! Are they freaking kidding me? That is half a mortgage payment!  

I was very frustrated! I could not get the numbers to work — even on paper. My net monthly pay was just over $2,000. At first, I thought that was great! I had never made that much money before! But, then I did the math…

Student loans = $775
Apartment/Utilities = $800
Food = $400
Gas = $200
Entertainment = zero
Unexpected Expenses = zero
Savings = zero
MONTHLY EXPENSES               $2,175
MONTHLY INCOME                          $2,107

Even with a roommate, a zero entertainment budget and borrowing my father’s car so that I did not have a car payment, I was not able to make it on my own without starving to death. I wanted to be able to go out once in a while, and I was getting really sick of Ramen noodles. There was no way I was going to become a “Boomerang Kid”! I did not want to move back in with my parents for many different reasons:  

  1. My parents had raised me to be independent, and I was eager to be out on my own.
  2. I loved being in control of my own time and not having to answer to anyone.
  3. My relationship with my mother was so much better now that I was not subjected to her rules, curfews, etc. Living on my own took all the tension out of our relationship.
  4. I wanted the freedom to have ice cream for dinner, keep the apartment only as clean as I wanted to,   and have the gang over for margaritas on a Tuesday night.

I could not believe that I could not find a better job! Like all super-connected Millennials, I use technology for everything, entertainment, news, banking and used it in my job search. I scoured online job boards and applied online to hundreds of jobs. I could not even get an interview for a permanent job. I thought I was doing all the right things — but I was very wrong.

So, I contacted a Professional Resume Writer/Career Coach who had helped a friend of mine get a new job. She pointed out to me that my resume was not compatible with Applicant Tracking Systems and it did not “sell” me well. It was too generic, and I was sending out the same version to every company. She also explained to me why I needed to use LinkedIn to network and show potential employers that I had transitioned from “college kid” to “young professional”.  

Well, I am very glad that I hired Trish Thomas of The Resume Resource to help me prepare for my job search. Within 2 weeks, I had an impressive resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile! She explained the best ways to use LinkedIn in your job search and helped me prepare for an interview. She was easy to work with, and I highly recommend her!

This story has a happy ending! Within a few days of updating my LinkedIn profile, a recruiter contacted me on LinkedIn for an HR job with a major biotech company. She loved my resume and asked me in for an interview. I aced the interview, and have been working there since October 2011. Today I earn more than $40,000! I bought myself a nice (previously loved) car and now have some money in my monthly Entertainment fund. Life is a lot more fun when you can actually live on the money you earn.

Trish Thomas founded The Resume Resource in 2009 to help people advance their careers with rewarding jobs that provide more than just a paycheck. As a Career Coach and Resume Writer, she provides her clients with the tools, strategies and confidence needed to achieve their goals and guides them through the job search process to make it less overwhelming and more successful.

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