Find a mentor: Years ago, most professions started out with an apprenticeship while workers were learning a trade. Today, a mentor has a similar role as an experienced person with a career you admire. Develop friendships with a colleague at work, someone you meet at a conference, or a professional associate in your field who can become your advisor and help with challenges as you grow in your career. Be sure that your mentor never feels taken for granted. Take them out for lunch, send them thank you cards, and give them positive feedback about advice they have given.
Continued education. It's important to continue growing after you land your first job. You will need to keep up on your field's latest technology, sharpen your skills, and continue learning. You can continue education at your local college, online, through professional associations, or by attending conferences in your career field. Continued professional development will aid in a successful career.
Learn to budget. There are several online resources that offer budgeting tools. A simple Internet search will allow you to compare different budgeting tools so you can find one that is best for you. Start by identifying what you currently spend your money on, track it, and create goals that take into account your long-term financial objectives. A smart budget will help you build your emergency fund and save for your future.
Time is on your side. Even though you are probably at a starting wage, time is on your side. Through compounding interest, the earlier you start saving, the more you will have for retirement, even if you are not contributing large amounts of money. If your employer offers a retirement plan, sign up at the earliest opportunity. If your employer doesn't have a retirement plan, utilize Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), Roth IRAs, or other savings vehicles to start saving for your retirement.
Develop or update basic estate planning and insurance documents. Now that you have income and are starting to build wealth, you should work with a financial planner and estate planning attorney to draft a will, general durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and a living will. You should also meet with an insurance specialist to make sure you are adequately covered.
Rethink social media. When looking at your Facebook or Twitter accounts, view it through the eyes of a potential employer. Many times employers do an Internet search on job applicants before they hire. Do an Internet search on yourself, and you may be surprised at what pops up. Is this the online brand you want for yourself? If not, clean up anything you wouldn't want a potential employer to see, and lock down those social media sites you want only family and friends to see. Use your LinkedIn account to network and make connections. Need help? Visit the LinkedIn Learning Center to learn about profiles, find out how to get a new job, and make meaningful connections with other professionals.
Discover a healthy work/life balance. Sure you have to pay your dues when you are learning a new job, but all work and no play is a way to burn out fast. Even though it's hard to make time for exercise when you have a jam-packed schedule, getting the minimum amount recommended each week pays big dividends. Exercise can help boost your mood, expend built-up energy, allow better quality of sleep, and increase your energy level by making you more alert—and will keep you healthier so you pay less for medical bills down the road.
Another way to keep a healthy work/life balance is to explore hobbies and activities you are passionate about. Maybe you enjoy volunteering, or have always had an interest in theatre. Now is the time to do those things. Find ways to give back to your community on the Live Local page of hillsbank.com. There are also many community theatre groups in the area that you can get involved in. Visit hillsbanklivelocal.com and explore potential hobbies such as biking/hiking trails, community clubs, recreational leagues, and start expanding your social reach with family and friends.
Below are ideas for club memberships and events in the area to help you relax and enjoy The Corridor.
Conquerthecorridor.com: Find ways to play around the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor.
CulturalCorridor.org: Find over 150 different cultural organizations in The Corridor that you can be a part of.
Hoopla: Discover meetings and clubs within the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor.
Iowa.com: Find clubs, activities, and events across Iowa.
IowaBeautiful.com: An Iowa travel guide to attractions and events all over the state.
HillsBankLiveLocal.com: Take pride in the Eastern Iowa Corridor and discover ways to get involved, sustain our local economy, strengthen our community, and make a difference!
TravelIowa.com: Learn about festivals and events in your area from the official tourism website of the State of Iowa.