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    18 Things That People Who Graduated In The Great Recession Want This Year's Grads To Know

    "Just because you find yourself on an unfamiliar path, that doesn't mean it's the wrong path."

    Graduating from college during an uncertain time, um like now, can be equal parts exciting and terrifying. On the one hand, you've just accomplished a major life goal that you probably worked really hard on, and that calls for a celebration! But on the other hand, you have the big, looming question of what's coming next.

    I was super-curious to see what kind of advice other recession grads like me have for the class of 2021, so I asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share their wisdom. Here's what they had to say:

    1. As you're searching for a job, you'll probably face some rejections. Do your best not to take them personally.

    2. Start working on your credit score now. Having a healthy credit score will make your financial life sooo much easier.

    "Graduated in 2008. Work hard for your credit. I had to get myself a secured credit card, as so many banks were going bankrupt at the time that I couldn’t get one otherwise (gave the bank $300 for a “$300 line of credit”), but I slowly grew and worked on it until now I have a credit score over 800. Seemed impossible at the time to even get started, but I’m so thankful that I did."


    3. It's OK to take a job you're not that into while you look for a job that you really, really want.

    4. Don't sweat it if you have to take a job in retail or the service industry to get by. If anyone judges you for it, that says more about their character than yours.

    "Don't be embarrassed if you have to get a job that isn't 'professional.' My first job post-college was in retail, which is not my desired profession, but I took it because I needed money. I got made fun of mercilessly because look what I was doing with my degree (hahaha, sooooo funny). But I ended up really liking it; the people were nice, and the hours were flexible. I learned any job is a good job if they pay you decent money and you enjoy being there. Be patient with yourself, and just keep working towards your goals, and do your best to shut out the naysayers."


    5. Start saving for retirement as early as possible to give your money more time to grow.

    6. If there's a particular company you really want to work for, keep an eye out for openings, and be persistent.

    "I graduated with a degree in graphic design/art. The arts field was hit pretty hard during the 2008 recession. I had to have an internship before I could get my degree. I interviewed at a few smaller agencies/companies, but no one was willing to take on a new employee, even an unpaid intern! I was determined to get a job no matter what. I was persistent with an agency I wanted to work for and kept following up until they gave me an opportunity. I did a lot of odds and ends work, but I did learn a lot in different parts of the agency. Persistence is key; even if a company says they don't have a position available, make your presence known and how you can be an asset to their team!"


    7. Dealing with changing plans and uncertainty can be challenging, but try not to let fear or anxiety get the best of you.

    8. Staying at home (or moving back) is nothing to be ashamed of.

    "Move back in with your parents, if they'll let you. It's not ideal, but you'll save a bunch of money. And be sure to 'earn your keep' by doing things around the house. You're not a kid anymore, so it's time to start doing laundry and cooking dinner for your parents every once in awhile. I used to call my parents my roommates and started treating them as such instead of acting like they had to take care of me. BTW, I finished my undergrad in December 2008."


    9. Working long hours might sound like a good way to prove yourself, but you need time to live your life too.

    10. Don't be afraid to step off the beaten path. You don't have to jump right into your career.

    "Do the unexpected thing, the thing completely opposite of what everyone else is trying to do. Graduated 2008 pit of the recession with a business degree, and everyone said look for (nonexistent) work, or at minimum an internship. I spent the summer working at a camp for people with disabilities and then found a program to teach English in Spain for the year. Hands down the best year of my life. When I came back, things were still tough; I lived at home for a while, and then got a job which started my career trajectory that’s lasted until today. I don’t feel that it was a year lost whatsoever. I grew tremendously, made amazing friendships that have lasted until today, and was still able to get a job."


    11. Keep an eye on business news to get an idea of where you might find good jobs.

    12. Look into public service programs and other organizations where you can start getting work experience.

    "2007 graduate here. Consider a year of national service like AmeriCorps Vista. You'll get real-world experience, an education award you can apply to your student loans, and you'll spend a year making an impact. Besides, you then get non-competitive eligibility for federal jobs as well as a great résumé builder. National service can change your life and your career path — I'm living proof."


    13. Use your network when you're looking for work. Having solid references in your corner or a referral for an open position could make a huge difference.

    14. And when you're considering a job offer, look at benefits, too, not just the salary.

    "If they offer benefits, vacation pay, and 401(k) options, take the job!! Accruing experience even at lower pay matters, and if you are able to live at home, pay off those loans!"


    15. Depending on your field, graduate school might be a great next step.

    16. Try to stay on top of your debt. The sooner you can pay it off, the more financial freedom you'll have.

    "Map out your debt (each card, each loan) with the interest rate, payback date, minimum amount, and website, and then pay your minimums on everything and throw more money at the higher-interest debt accounts. You’ll pay them off faster and save yourself money in the long run. Future you appreciates it!"


    17. Try lots of different jobs. You'll gain interesting experiences, and you might even discover a new passion.

    18. And finally, don't worry about being "behind." You're exactly where you're supposed to be.

    "You’re not behind. Behind what exactly? A human construct of fake milestones that are supposed to signify achievement. You’re doing just fine."


    What advice do you wish someone had given you when you graduated? Share it in the comments below.

    And for more stories about money and careers, check out the rest of our personal finance posts.

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.