You probably think of your social media pages as your own little corner of the Web, but they also make up your personal brand. It’s not just your friends or family members taking notice of your posts either. Fifty-two percent of employers and 92 percent of recruiters say they check social media accounts before deciding whether to hire an applicant. Even more troubling, 48 percent of employers say what they found online made them pass on a candidate. What message do your social media pages send? And how can you use those pages to promote your career?

Get Active on LinkedIn

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram might be the most popular social media platforms for millennials, but when it comes to promoting your career, you’ll do it best on LinkedIn. Eighty-seven percent of recruiters say they use LinkedIn as part of their hiring processes — more than any other social network.

Think of your LinkedIn account like a digital resume, advertising your work experience and skills to potential employers. Just like a regular resume, it’ll make the best impression if it’s kept up to date. Like any other social media platform, you’ll get the most out of LinkedIn if you’re active. Join some industry groups and take an active role in their conversations.

Proofread Every Post

Grammar, spelling, and punctuation matter. According to The Hiring Site, 30 percent of employers say poor communication skills on social media are a real turnoff. Make sure your posts are free of typos, and use those common Internet acronyms sparingly, if at all. While poor communication reflects badly on all job candidates, it can be a deal-breaker for people entering fields where communication skills are prized, such as journalism and education.

When you’re proofreading your posts, also take note of the language you’re using. You might use foul language when you’re hanging out with your friends, but a prospective employer won’t be impressed.

Share the Right Content

The content you share says a lot about your interests and inspirations. Funny cat videos and the latest BuzzFeed list might be entertaining, but what do they really say about you and the type of employee you’d be? Ditto on political and religious opinions (you’re certain to offend someone so don’t take chances on it being a potential employer). Start following experts in your field and share posts from their feeds. Their influence will reflect positively on you.

Promote Any Work Experience

Sixty percent of employers are looking at your social media account for information that supports your qualifications for the job. While LinkedIn is an obvious place to showcase your talents, you can also promote your professional skills on other platforms. Share details of any work experience or volunteer work you’re doing. More than three-quarters of recruiters view these type of posts positively. Just make sure you are positive about the experience. If you badmouth the work or other employees. you’ll look unprofessional.

Your social media accounts can be much more than a way to connect with your peers. Use them wisely, and they can be a valuable way to promote your skills, build a compelling personal brand, and further your career.


Summer is the perfect time for relaxing on the beach or by the pool with a good book. Rather than reaching for a trashy romance novel or a schlocky thriller, why not select something that will broaden your mind and expand your perspective all while being enjoyable? These quality reads will keep your brain working during summer break.

The Women’s Room by Marilyn French: Feminist Tome Still Resonates

The Women’s Room by Marilyn French was penned in the 1970s and is set in the 1950s, but its themes still resonate today. Like French herself, the main character, Mira, is a suburban housewife who decides to expand her horizons and become a mature student at Harvard. As Mira discovers her identity and her place in the world, modern readers will marvel at the way its themes of slut shaming and societal expectations still resonate. The Women’s Room is bound to get you thinking about how far women have come and how they still fight for equality in the workplace and social sphere. Female students are likely to empathize with Mira’s struggles, but if you’re a man, you shouldn’t let the title put you off. There’s plenty here for you to enjoy, too.

Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace: Think Critically About Everything

Critical thinking is a key skill for college students of all disciplines. Few people were more adept at it than the late David Foster Wallace, who dissects everything from the literature of Dostoyevsky to the O.J. Simpson trial and even lobsters in this fascinating read. The varied subject matter he tackles here makes Consider the Lobster bags of fun. Hopefully by the end, David Foster Wallace’s critical-thinking talents will also rub off on you.

The Good Terrorist by Doris Lessing: Political Activism Satire

Some say you haven’t really lived the life of a college student unless you’ve picketed or protested about a cause close to your heart. Alice, the main character in Doris Lessing’s novel, is an unemployed and naïve political-science and economics graduate from a middle-class family. She takes up residence with a group of like-minded revolutionaries determined to change the world, with devastating results. As funny as it is disturbing, The Good Terrorist will get you thinking about how personal causes can so easily become political and the way terrorism evolves. Reading it now in the wake of recent terror attacks on Paris and Brussels gives this 1985 novel extra weight.

The Turquoise Ledge by Leslie Marmon Silko: Powerful Memoir About Environment

Debates about climate change and planetary destruction often focus on science so it’s refreshing to read a more spiritual perspective about these issues in Leslie Marmon Silko’s The Turquoise Ledge. The author draws on her Cherokee, Laguna Pueblo, Mexican, and European ancestry in this memoir about life in the desert, her bonds with local animals, and the environmental decay she’s seen. This intimate novel reads like a diary, encouraging readers to think about their place in the world and what they want that world to be.

For some engrossing reads that will expand your perspective this summer, look no further than these quality books.


Graduation typically instills in students equal measures of elation, excitement, and anxiety. As a student, while you’re thrilled to move on to the next phase in your life, you might feel unprepared for the onslaught of decisions you must make. Creating a checklist of tasks to accomplish after the pomp and circumstance are over can ground you and ensure that you’re making the best use of your time.

Stop By Your School’s Career Center

A university career center or career services office contains a variety of free resources to help you land a post-collegiate job. Andrew Strieber of CareerCast recommends spending some time there before you say goodbye to school. Talk with a career counselor, and pore over the research materials.

You can also tap your professors for advice — especially those who teach courses related to your chosen profession. Ask to meet with them over coffee or during their office hours so that you can pick their brains about how best to proceed. Alternatively, shoot your professor an email asking a series of brief questions.

Customize Your Resume

These days, generic resumes and cover letters won’t land you a job. Customize each one to the company and position in question. Address key skills that will relate to your job performance in your resume, for instance, or mention some facet of the business you particularly like in your cover letter.

Collect a Few References

While personal references sometimes suffice for entry-level jobs, you’re better off providing professional references to potential employers. If you held an on-campus job, for example, ask your boss to write a quick reference letter. Request permission from anyone whose contact information you plan to supply to potential employers.

Other sources of references include supervisors of internships, managers for summer jobs, and even coaches or faculty advisors for extracurricular activities. If you worked on a special project at school, the professor in charge can also provide a reference. You might not use them all, but snag them before you leave school behind.

Diversify Your Job Search

Maybe you didn’t enjoy that composition class during freshman year, but you likely learned a few useful research skills. Give them some exercise now as you search for your first professional job. Don’t limit yourself to one online job board or a single classifieds forum.

Instead, visit as many job boards as possible to familiarize yourself with recent openings. Set up a LinkedIn account or use other social media platforms to learn about positions that might not have hit the boards yet. The more resources you use, the sooner you’ll secure a new position.

Set Broad Expectations

Many recent grads get their hopes up for landing their dream job. While it could happen, your first position out of college probably won’t resemble the caliber of job you’ll get when you’ve accrued a few years of experience. Shoot for getting a decent job now, but don’t stop looking for something better.

After graduation, you can go anywhere and do anything you want. Creating a plan will give your job search some direction and help you focus until you find a position that you’ll enjoy.


Graduation is an exciting time for any college student. You feel a sense of loss as you prepare to leave your college home but you’re also excited about what the future might hold. When you clear out your dorm room or off-campus apartment, consider tossing out (recycling, passing on to friends, or selling preferably) these unnecessary items to make room for the things you’ll need to start your professional career.

Plastic Furniture and Storage

While you’re in college, it’s perfectly acceptable to fashion a bookshelf out of milk crates or to use an empty ice chest as a coffee table. Now that you’re leaving undergrad life behind, however, it’s time to ditch the plastic furniture and storage in favor of more attractive (and sturdy) options. You don’t have to break the bank; consider a trip to Ikea or a local thrift store to find affordable alternatives.

Tacky Art

The Van Gogh calendar and edgy movie posters seemed cool when you first set up your dorm room four years ago, but they’re a little silly after you leave college life behind. The posters probably have torn edges anyway, or faded colors, so feel free to pass them down to a freshman without any art on his or her walls.

Textbooks

Not only are textbooks unnecessary after graduation, but they’re also heavy and they take up considerable space. Besides, selling back your textbooks will put some much-needed cash in your pocket. Consider sources other than the campus bookstore, such as online forums, if you want to maximize your profit.

Branded Swag

When you’re thoroughly enmeshed in the campus lifestyle, you start to collect swag that bears the university’s logo, mascot, and other symbols. Now that you’re heading into the real world, it’s best to leave behind the koozies, thermoses, hoodies, foam fingers, coasters, and other branded merchandise. Save a couple of your favorite items and find someone to take the rest off your hands.

Old Paperwork

You’re feeling nostalgic now, so you’ve convinced yourself you can’t throw away your freshman English syllabus because you’ll want to look upon it fondly for years to come. Resist the urge to keep every document your four years of academic study have generated. If you won’t use it for graduate school or to reference at work, recycle that paper!

Bath Tote

The days of padding down the hall to the communal bathroom are over, so you don’t need that bath tote anymore. You can also get rid of your backpack (unless it’s a neutral color and in good shape) and your miniature refrigerator (unless you want it for your next home).

Foam Mattress Topper

You bought it on sale because you were tired of the uncomfortable dorm room mattress. Over the years, the egg-crate surface has flattened and lost its poof. You’ve moved it in and out of campus housing for four years, so it’s time to kick it to the curb.

It’s sometimes hard to let go of your favorite college possessions. Ditching the above seven items, however, will free up space for your grownup apartment.


With some professors, you’re eager to forget their names the moment you walk out of the final exam. Others, however, you always want to remember as they inspire you to try harder, achieve more, and pursue new endeavors. As you get ready to leave school, you might want to thank those professors who made your university life better; but how do you express your gratitude on a limited student budget?

Write a Note

When today’s students want to express themselves, they send a text or fire off an email to the recipient. However, a handwritten note requires more time, thought, and energy, which makes it more special. However, it doesn’t require any cash (as long as you have paper and a pen handy), so it won’t eat into your budget. Share an anecdote or express your gratitude in the note, then mail it via the postal service or hand-deliver it to your professor’s office. Just make sure you write legibly. Feeling creative? Make your not into a card.

Buy Office Supplies

If you paid attention in class (of course you did!), you might have noticed what office supplies your professor preferred to use. Maybe he or she had an unnatural love for different colors of dry erase markers, or perhaps your favorite professor was always marking passages in books with sticky notes.

An office-supply gift might not offer the most appealing option, so think about your professor’s tastes and habits. If you know he or she always carried a cup of tea through the school’s corridors, a new mug or set of teacups might offer a better alternative.

Make a Donation

Many professors support specific causes. Maybe your favorite teacher frequently discussed a particular charity or cause that was close to his or her heart. Consider making a small donation — even $5 or $10 — in your professor’s name, as it’s a kind and thoughtful way to express your gratitude as you embark upon the next phase in your life.

Gift a Potted Plant

You can pick up a flower or plant at the supermarket for less than $15, but it makes a great gift. Your professor can take it home or keep it on campus, depending on his or her preferences. If you know that your favorite teacher has a somewhat black thumb, go with a plant of the hard-to-kill variety, such as a succulent.

Get Busy in the Kitchen

If you’re an aspiring gourmet chef, hit the kitchen to thank your favorite professor. A tin of cookies or a tub of dip might not last forever, but your teacher will appreciate your thoughtfulness and enjoy a delicious snack when he or she goes home. Are you lacking culinary skills? A gift basket with edible treats might offer a more realistic solution. You could also gift a bag of your professor’s favorite coffee or a small gift card to a favorite restaurant.

Many professors sacrifice their time and energy to give every student an opportunity to succeed. When a teacher makes an impression on you — the good kind, anyway — expressing your gratitude right before graduation sends a powerful message.

 


Your graduation ceremony is behind you, and you’re ready to plan your next move. Perhaps you’re considering moving to an employment hotspot or taking a year off to pursue an internship abroad. However, there’s another great option you might not have considered: living with your parents. Reasons like these encourage nearly half of 18- to 24-year-old college graduates to live in their family homes after the big day in May.

It’ll Help You Save Some Money and Pay Back Student Loans

If you’re like 69 percent of recent college graduates, you’re up to your eyeballs in debt. According to the Institute of College Access & Success, the average college graduate in 2014 needed to repay $28,950 to clear their student loans. How do you plan on doing that if you’re paying for rent, food, utilities, and more?

Even if you’re lucky enough to graduate debt-free, you probably don’t have a nest egg behind you. You’ll need this when you move into your own place because you’ll be expected to pay for the first and perhaps the last month’s rent, a security deposit, and movers. Then there are all the costs of daily living to consider, such as groceries and utility bills. Even if you score an entry-level job, meeting those expenses is challenging for most recent graduates.

Most parents will happily charge their kids a nominal amount for room and board. This will allow you to save the money you need to get on your own two feet.

It’ll Give You a Place to Be While You’re Looking For Work

The Global Financial Crisis may be far behind us, but it’s still affecting the employment prospects of young graduates. A 2015 report published by the Economic Policy Institute found that 7.2 percent of young college graduates are unemployed. A further 14.9 percent are underemployed, or employed in jobs beneath their qualifications. You might have studied to be an engineer or lawyer, but in reality you could find yourself waiting tables or working a cash register until you find work in your field.

Living with your parents can be a great safety net while you’re looking for work in your chosen field. Parents tend to be more understanding about long stints of unemployment and times when money is tight than flatmates. It’s also much easier to focus on finding a job when you don’t have to worry about your next meal or keeping the power on.

You’ll Be Close to a Great Support System

Adjusting to life after graduation can be challenging. You’ve lost your usual routine and the social opportunities it provided. You’re faced with the reality of finding full-time work and making the transition from college kid to full-blown adult. All these challenges can take a real toll on your mental health. Your parents will often be your greatest cheerleader when you’re feeling down. If you’ve got siblings at home, you’ll also benefit from their company during this challenging time.

Living with parents isn’t always a bed of roses, but there are such compelling reasons why it makes sense after graduation so don’t rule it out before giving it serious consideration and talking it through with your family.


Summer might seem like the perfect excuse to travel or to work on your tan, but it’s smarter to use your downtime pursuing an internship. A National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that candidate experience plays a key role in hiring decisions for 95 percent of employers. Nearly half of employers want the experience of new graduates to come from internships or co-op programs. The Collegiate Employment Research Institute’s Philip D. Gardner said most employers won’t even view the resumes of candidates without internship experience. But where do you find an internship? These websites are the perfect places to start.

YouTern: Internship Site Powered By Interns

YouTern uses high-tech matching software to pair your skills and career goals with the needs of the companies in its database. Take a few minutes to create your free YouTern profile and let the site find the internships that will suit you best. Who really has time to trawl through irrelevant internship postings anyway? As new opportunities arise, YouTern will send them to your email or smartphone so you don’t need to feel chained to the site. The Savvy Intern blog, part of the YouTern website, also has some useful advice.

Looksharp: Innovative Website for Internships and Entry-Level Jobs

Looksharp says it’s the largest online internship and entry-level jobs market targeted at students and recent graduates. Like YouTern, Looksharp encourages you to create a free profile so the more than 30,000 companies in its database can find you. This is easy with tools that can pull information from your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Facebook, Charles Schwab, and HP are among the organizations advertising internships through the site. Looksharp offers tools that help you refine your resume and cover letter and get advice about handling recruiters and interviews.

Internships.com: Top-Rated Internship Site

Internships.com’s user-friendly interface and large pool of internship positions that represent all 50 states helped the company to be named as one of Forbes’ top-10 career websites. Anyone can browse positions, but you’ll need to sign up for a free account to apply for an internship. The clever search function makes it easy to filter results according to their compensation, location, employer type, and more. If you’re not sure what you want to do, take the Internship Predictor quiz, which can help you decide on the best internship for your personality.

InternJobs: Internship Site Backed by Leading Jobs Network

Part of the AboutJobs.com network, InternJobs has helped students and recent graduates find their ideal internship positions for two decades. While it charges businesses to list their opportunities, it offers its services to internship seekers for free. InternJobs is a global site, so if you’re looking for adventure, you might browse internship opportunities in Australia or Qatar! Of course, there are also plenty of positions close to home with organizations like the Center for Biological Diversity, Food and Water Watch, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Your next internship could be just a click away. Point your browser to these websites and start searching for your ideal opportunity.


You’ve tried to forget about your student loans over the last four years, but now that you’re ready to graduate, you have to face facts. A student loan exit interview prepares you for your first payment and ensures that you understand the rules and regulations you must follow going forward. Below are some tips to help you make the most of the interview and prepare yourself for repaying your student loans.

Resist the Urge to Skip It

While exit counseling might not seem like the most enjoyable way to spend your time as you prepare to leave college, don’t assume you can blow it off like a group study session. You’re required to participate in exit counseling if your loan came from the federal government, so resign yourself to this necessity.

Fortunately, it’s not a long or involved experience. You’ll meet a loan counselor on campus or take part in the interview online. Either way, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes of your time. Afterward, you can meet your pals for coffee in the quad.

Make a List of Questions

Just like a job interview, a student loan exit interview goes both ways. Your interviewer will likely ask you questions and provide you with essential information, but you’re allowed to ask a few questions of your own. To ensure you don’t forget anything, make a list of questions to ask, such as:

  • When must I make my first payment?
  • How much will each payment cost?
  • How long will it take to pay off the debt?
  • Do you have multiple options for payment plans?

Take a pad of paper and a pen to the interview. That way, you can write down the answers to your questions. Alternatively, ask the interviewer for any literature he or she has, such as brochures or fact sheets. The more information you have, the better prepared you become.

Take Stock of Your Future

If you’ve already found a post-graduation job, you know how much you’ll earn each month. Federal loans often involve repayment plans that represent a percentage of your income. If you know this information now, you can start making plans.

However, even if you haven’t yet snagged a job, you can research the types of careers you might want to pursue. How much do entry-level jobs in your chosen industry pay? That will give you an idea of how to structure your finances in the future.

Provide Useful Contact Information

After you graduate, will you return to your parents’ home or move into a new apartment? It’s often best to provide a relative’s address until you find permanent housing. It’s also a good idea to set up a new email address. You’ll stop using your university email after graduation, and you’ll want your loan officer to have a convenient way to contact you.

Whether you took out federal or private student loans, the exit interview is an essential part of starting your new life after graduation. You’ll know exactly what to expect, which means the first bill won’t come as a nasty shock.


Yikes! You have a test coming up and you haven’t been as diligent about studying as you should have been. You plan to buy some super-caffeinated beverages, down some sugary snacks, and stay up all night dumping information into your brain. But is cramming really the best way to prepare for that exam?

Why Cramming Doesn’t Work

An article from the BBC explains, “Different parts of the brain support different kinds of memory … Just because your visual cortex is fluently processing your notes after five consecutive hours of you looking at them, doesn’t mean the rest of your brain is going to be able to reconstruct the memory of them when you really need it to.”

The same BBC article cites a study from researchers at the University of California who found that for 90 percent of participates, spaced-out learning (yeah, that’s learning over intervals, not spacing out while learning) was more effective than cramming. However, 72 percent of people in the survey claimed that they felt the cramming was more effective. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that cramming is the best way to prepare for a test.

Is Cramming Ever Effective?

“But,” you might say, “isn’t cramming better than not studying at all? There has to be some benefit to cramming.” Yes, cramming is not 100-percent bad. If you’re really desperate and your upcoming exam is going to be in a simple format — such as multiple choice or true and false — you might be able to memorize the facts you need in order to get a decent grade. You might not be able to fluently explain the information in an essay, but you could probably dredge up the basics from your study-exhausted brain.

To make the most of your cram session, refuse to get distracted by social media or by your study buddy who keeps insisting on a “Netflix and chill” break. Focus on learning concepts that you know will play a prominent part in the exam. Try not to cram through the night. If you’re well-rested for your test, you’re more likely to perform well.

You should also know your individual learning style. Facts are going to stick better if you absorb them in a way that is easy for your brain to process.

The Best Way to Study

So if cramming doesn’t work, how should you study?

  • Establish a good study routine and use highlighters to mark the most-important information. If you find some ideas to be particularly difficult, note these and review those subjects more often.
  • Try explaining what you learn in your own words. If you can correctly teach something to someone else, you can be confident that you’ve got the topic down.
  • If you’re short on time, review previous tests so you can anticipate the types of questions you might encounter. Try to come up with mnemonic devices for tricky concepts.
  • Stay positive. Stress can negatively affect your memory.

Cramming might be able to help you score a few extra points on an exam, but it really isn’t a good way to study. To perform at your academic best, start preparing for exams as early as possible.


Final exams create a whirlwind of activity as they send students into last-minute study groups and cramming frenzies. The problem, of course, is that each of your professors expects you to memorize a formidable list of facts and concepts and to be able to apply them under pressure. If you’re hoping to boost your memory in time for your tests, put these strategies to good use.

Engage Your Eyes

Reading a sentence over and over might not prove sufficient to commit the information to memory. Perhaps your brain needs more visual stimulation, which means creating a visual representation of the data. If you’re studying history, for instance, draw a timeline and fill in the dates and events or look at pictures of the events. For anatomy, try labeling anatomical figures. Find your learning style and embrace it!

Take Turns Teaching

Vocalizing information can also help boost your memory skills and engage the deepest regions of your brain. Consider getting together with a group of classmates and take turns teaching different sections of the material as though you’re sitting in class. Both the speaker and the listeners will benefit from expressing the information in their own words and hearing it in different ways.

If you don’t have a study buddy or group, use your phone or laptop to record yourself in the role of the teacher. Find a quiet corner on campus in which to record yourself reading back your notes or expressing concepts in fresh terms. When you play your recording afterward, you’ll hear the information anew.

Create Memory Clusters

Students often find it easier to absorb and process information when they organize data into clusters. For instance, chronological notes might not represent the best way to study history. Instead, group similar incidents and people together, then focus on one cluster at a time. Or instead of trying to learn all of the bones in the human body, concentrate on learning the long bones as a group and then teeth and so on. Break down information into smaller nuggets you can manage.

Develop a Better Diet

Late-night cram sessions often involve copious amounts of sugary (and caffeinated) beverages, fast food, and leftover pizza. Don’t fall into the empty-calorie trap, however, if you want to sharpen your memory. Reduce your meat intake and fill in the gaps with nuts, vegetables, fruits, and other foods that are high in memory-enhancing antioxidants.

In addition to improving your ability to recall information, a better diet will also keep your energy levels up while you’re preparing for finals. If you find yourself falling asleep with your can of Red Bull, it’s time to rethink your dependence on caffeine and sugar and to develop better college eating habits overall.

Set Up a Sentence or a Story

Mnemonic devices — memory techniques that use one kind of information to help you encode another kind — can work well in this regard. Create your strategy around your strengths. Learning about taxonomy for Biology class? Just remember that “King Philip came over from great Spain.” Wha?!!? Check it: Just that one sentence (an historical truth, no less) can help you remember the descending taxonomy of Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. Golden!

Developing a better memory can take time, but the above tips will sharpen your recall skills in a hurry.