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Best Advice for Graduates

by Ryan Guina

JLP at All Financial Matters recently wrote a post titled, “Your Best Advice for Graduates.” He asked his readers:

  • What is one piece of advice or life lesson that you have for this year’s graduates (both high school and college)?”

The answer can be related to a financial goal, or to life in general.

JLP welcomed comments on his post and also invited bloggers to give their advice. Most people left comments about staying away from consumer debt. Other great pieces of advice included travel as often as possible, to never stop learning, don’t “keep up with the Joneses,” set goals, and several others. You can’t go wrong with any of them.

My advice? Chase opportunity.

Most college grads don’t know exactly what they will do when they enter the “real world.” Many blindly apply to as many jobs as possible and take the first gig offered, or worse, they take the highest paid job offered. Sometimes, the best job is the job that has a lower starting salary, but opportunity to gain experience and growth within your professional field. There are some jobs that pay well out of the gate, but 5 years later have the same pay (not counting a 2% annual raise).

If you find a career opportunity (not a job, there is a difference!) that pays less, but offers a chance to learn, grow, network, and make yourself more marketable in a short time span, often times the lower paying job is the one to take.

There are many jobs that give you a wealth of knowledge and experience at a rapid rate. One example is consulting. Many people join the consulting ranks for a few years, get a ton of experience, and move on to bigger and better things. There are many other career and growth opportunities out there for you. Think about where you want to be, and find a way to get there.

When people are in college, they tend to be accustomed to living off less. If you can maintain a simple lifestyle with a lower paying job and still chase opportunity, you will be much better off in the long run.

That is my 2 cents, and it has worked very well for me so far. ;)


Published or updated December 9, 2010.
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