Smart money moves for new graduates

Smart money moves for new graduates

File picture courtesy of Old Mutual Published 1h ago

By Devon Card

Being a new graduate can be one of the most exciting yet stressful times of your life. The elation of graduating with a degree or diploma can be short-lived once you face the realities of job-hunting, rejection letters and “adulting” in general. Here are some practical tips.

• Prepare your online profile. When last did you Google yourself? There is enormous power in your online profile, so make sure that anybody searching for you is impressed by what they see. Check your privacy settings on Facebook and Instagram accounts, and check through your Twitter feed. If you haven’t already done so, set up a Linkedin profile and start connecting.

• Set up your online CV. Sites such as and allow you to create an online CV which is universally accessible and makes it easier for companies to find talent. Spend time creating a powerful online CV that showcases your special skill set.

• Don’t sit around waiting for a job. Job-hunting is tough and being rejected is emotionally draining. Finding a job is going to require tenacity, resourcefulness, resilience and a never-say-die attitude. While you’re out their job-hunting, focus also on finding a side hustle that can generate some extra income.

• Practice being interviewed. To avoid being overwhelmed during job interviews, get some practice ahead of time. Ask your parents, a mentor, lecturer or family friend to go through a ‘dummy interview’ with you so that you get a feel for the type of questions you will be asked and how to construct succinct, insightful responses.

• Develop an introductory email. When emailing your CV through to a prospective company, include a short, sharp and well-written introduction that entices the reader to open your CV. Make sure your grammar and punctuation is flawless.

• Get a driver’s licence. If you don’t yet have your driver’s licence, do it now. Most employers want an employee who is independently mobile.

• Further your education while still young. If you are contemplating studying further, full-time or part-time, bear in mind that it is easier to do this while you are young, unmarried and do not have financial dependants.

• Register as a taxpayer. In order for an employer to pay you, you will need a tax number. To do this, you will need to go to your nearest SARS office with your official identification and proof of address.

• Check your medical aid. You may be required to move off your parents’ medical aid. If this is the case, do not allow your membership to lapse and ensure a smooth transition onto your own medical scheme.

• Check the terms of your student loan. If you’ve funded your studies through a student loan, check the terms of your loan repayments and be sure to pay the right amount every month and on time, as this will affect your credit record going forward.

• Get mobile. Depending on where you live, work and how much travelling you are required to do, it may make financial sense to use e-hailing services while saving up to pay cash for a car in the future.

• Keep copies of important documents. This includes your secondary and tertiary qualifications, all references and reports, identity documents, passwords, driver’s license, awards, certificates and extra courses. If possible, keep certified copies as well as a high-quality colour scan of each.

• Get as many references as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask people for a reference if you have done work for them. Whether you’ve worked as a waitron, au pair, baby-sitter or receptionist, ask for a written reference to keep on file.

• Have an account or utility bill in your name. If you want to buy a car, open a bank account or get a credit card, you will need to provide proof of address. Ensure that you have an account – bank, utility, cell phone, investment or other – that reflects your name and address.

• Manage your bank account well. Managing your bank account responsibly will improve your ability to apply for credit or finance. Generally, when purchasing a vehicle, renting a property or applying for a credit card, you will be required to submit three months’ bank statements.

• Read up on personal finance. Commit to reading about personal financial management, budgeting, investing, income tax and responsible money management. Buy a book, find an online resource, read the newspaper or […]

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