Not sure what to get your college graduate? Here are six practical gift ideas to help get the college graduate in your life set up for life beyond the ivory tower.Money
Credit: Carolyn Tiry
I know. I know. Money doesn't always seem like the most meaningful graduation gift but it's likely the one thing a college graduate really needs. One thing about adulthood is learning how to handle money. Maybe they'll spend it on something frivolous. Maybe they'll use it to buy clothing for job interviews. Maybe they'll save. I personally had six weeks between the end of exams and the start of my first post-college job and it was two weeks after that before I got my first pay check. The money I was gifted for graduation paid my rent and bought groceries. I was thankful for every single dime.
Premium LinkedIn Subscription
The internet and social media have changed how we search for jobs. When my friends are job searching the placed they turn to first is LinkedIn. The premium account will give the new graduate in your life access to the alumni tool as well as the ability to see who viewed their account.
Business Cards & Card Holder
Yes, business cards. If your graduate doesn't have a job lined up they'll be hustling and networking. Business cards are a must for networking events. Or to pass on to that friend of a friend whose company is looking to hire someone. Keep them simple with their name, contact details and a link to their LinkedIn profile.
My husband and I laugh at the difference in our college diplomas. He got his very respectable Bachelor of Commerce from a local college and it can be nicely framed in a standard frame, which you can pick up at any local department store. I got my Bachelor of Arts degree from a college where they are a bit more into pomp and circumstance. It's huge (seriously, it's almost three times the size of my husband's) and could only be framed at my college bookstore (if you want the official crest) or a speciality shop and it was so not cheap.
I am of the opinion that books are an appropriate gift for any occasion and let's be honest, those first few years post-graduation are confusing and overwhelming. We spend a lot of time learning all those things we didn't realize we didn't know and trying to figure out what comes next. Katherine Schwarzenegger's book I Just Graduated... Now What? helps graduates figure out post-college life by reaching out to people who have found success and covers everything from job searching to financial struggles, to the risks (and rewards) of following your dream.
Kelly Williams Brown's Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps covers some of the same topics as I Just Graduated... Now What? but it's much more of a how-to book. She covers job searches and financial planning, but she also offers advice for apartment hunting, the etiquette for dating co-workers, and laundry tips like what do it if your date pukes in your purse.
I only lived in a dorm for a year, which was standard at my college. Dorm rooms were limited but nearby apartments were plentiful and affordable. When my friends and I graduated we already had most of the kitchen essentials but many grads will be moving into their first apartments. Help them get set up with the things they need to set up their first kitchen -- pots, pans, dishes, measuring spoons, cutting boards and cutlery. Throw in some storage containers and lunch bag because leftovers make the best -- and most affordable -- lunches.