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Preparing college students for graduation

By RJ Taylor 

A wealth advisor encouraged students who are struggling to find a job to be patient in this current labor market.

“Approach the labor market with patience,” said Jack Thomas, an associate wealth advisor at Beacon Pointe. “Be willing to do something you don’t want to do immediately to ultimately do what you want to do later.”

A recent Business.com study reported that new college graduates are struggling to get hired. One finding shows that just 2% of applicants received an interview; none were offered a job. Another revealed that, in a study of over 300 applicants, about 90% of them didn’t receive a response from an employer.

Thomas said it’s not a bad thing to settle for a lower paying job a recent graduate considers less than ideal while still looking for his or her right fit. He said finding an entry-level job that gains knowledge and experience and fits nicely in your resumé is still very suitable.

“It matters to look good on paper, and when you’re asked in an interview, ‘What have you done over the past year after graduating?’ you have a good answer and can discuss your experiences,” he said. “It’s much better than saying, ‘I was a bartender.’”

Joe Carter, a senior finance major and computer science minor at the University of Georgia, considers himself lucky to have already landed a job.

“I’m going to be working for NCR as a business consultant,” Carter said. “It’s a transaction company, and they make software and hardware to help restaurants, banks and retail stores with their transactions.”

Carter has a similar message to students who are still struggling to find a post-college job.

“I think you just have to keep looking,” he said. “Keep applying. There are a lot of great schools out there, like Georgia, so people want to hire you.”

Carter highlighted the importance of making your money work for you and said he intends to apply some of the money from his new job to his future.

“I’m going to get involved in a 401(k), so I’m going to start saving for retirement instantly,” he said. “I’m also going to primarily invest in index funds. That’s what I would do, instead of trying to pick certain stocks, which can be difficult.”

For recent college graduates, Thomas said investing early is an important way to build wealth, but he acknowledged this can be very situational. He said many recent graduates still have student debt, car payments or rent payments, making investing early more difficult.

“However, if you’re talking about someone who is debt free and can afford to start putting some money away and save, now is a fantastic time to buy stocks,” he said. “You have people that, hopefully, have little to no debt, so they can take on a lot of risk. But more importantly, their time horizon is much longer than adults or other people.”

Thomas added it’s smart to buy a cheap broad-based index fund, like an S&P 500 index fund.

“Take the first $10,000 you can put away, and invest,” he said.

 

RJ Taylor is a journalism student at the University of Georgia

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