1. Undo the Evidence of Your Summer Fun on Facebook! Did you have a great summer? Maybe your future love doesn’t want to see all the steamy details. “Yes, you’re the only one”, works better when there aren’t hometown flings on your Facebook timeline. Before school gets back to full swing, you should take some time to review your timeline. Do the pictures paint the story you want to tell your college buds? Set any undesirable posts to “Me Only” so you can keep the memories without the shame. Try using a social media monitoring service call Reppler.com.
2. Ask Your Friends About Their Summer Jobs. Ever hear the expression, “most jobs come from your network”? Well your college friends are your network, and will become extremely valuable connections for you after you graduate. Find out what your friends did, where they worked, over the summer. Could be they have connections at a company you might want an introduction into later on. What could be more flattering than to receive a Facebook message from a friend asking you how your summer job went and what you did there! Be interesting by being interested.
3. Sell Your Old Textbooks on Half.com. The textbook industry has it all figured out. They put the edition and year on each book, and then get the classes to require the newest edition. But only very rarely are the changes from year to year that significant. Greek history 2012 is probably not too far off from Greek history 2013! Your college bookstore won’t give you more than 20% of retail on your books. But if you sell your books on Half or Amazon, you could get over 50% of the book’s value. How to sell textbooks on Half.com.
4. Rent Your New Textbooks on Kindle. There is something nice about thumbing through a book. But there is also something nice about paying only $19 to rent a digital textbook instead of paying $100 for ten pounds of lower back pain to carry around all semester. With Kindle, you can take notes, highlight and even Tweet favorite passages. Consider renting your required reading instead of killing trees this year. Learn about Kindle textbook rentals here.
5. Update Your Summer Job on LinkedIn. The longer you wait to include your summer work on your LinkedIn profile, the more you’re going to forget the details of what you did. Sure, it might not have been a dream job, but it still counts as work experience. When I was looking for work after my MBA program, I’ll never forget one interview question that took me by surprise, “What kind of work did you do when you were an undergrad?” The interviewer said that nothing shows work-ethic more than when a student spends their summer earning their own money rather than spending their parent’s money. So don’t undervalue what you’ve done this summer. Record your work experience in your LinkedIn profile. Also try adding some of these new elements to your profile: The New LinkedIn Profile Improvement Tool
6. Get Summer Job Recommendations Before Your Boss Forgets Who You Are. Not only will you forget the details of your job once school starts, but your boss will probably forget about how much they liked you. With online job seeking, one of the most powerful elements you bring to the table is what other people think about you. In years past, this used to be a very formal process. You’d have to request a letter of recommendation from your boss. Then they’d ask you to write it and they’d sign it. These days, all you need is a few short paragraphs on your LinkedIn profile. These notes from past managers will be assets that will serve you well once you start your career search.
7. Use Mint to Budget Your Expenses So You Don’t Use Credit Cards. Ever ask yourself why credit card companies promote their plastic so relentlessly on your campus? It’s because they know many students will use their cards and not pay back the debt for years. Then they can charge you fees and interest, while they fly in their private jets. Stop funding private jets (unless it’s yours). Use an easy and free budgeting tool to make sure you don’t overspend this semester. Mint.com is a free financial management website that aggregates your bank accounts and credit cards into one place. Learn how to budget with Mint here.
8. Google yourself to See Your Online Reputation. Go ahead. I dare you. Our generation has the unique advantage of being online from an early age. This means you’ve been building an online reputation whether you know it or not. Once your online reputation gets a blemish, it’s rather hard to fix. Use a tool called BrandYourself.com to grade your online reputation and get some free tips for improving it.
9. Manage Your Schedule with Google Calendar features. I haven’t used a paper planner in years. I know some people love them. But when you have all of your classes, clubs and meetings in one Google Calendar, your schedule is everywhere you need it to be: on your phone and computer. You don’t have to shade out three months of classes, only to find out after a week that you don’t like your professor and will not take that class after all. Changing a calendar event is simply a matter of deleting, not erasing. You can even put an inspiring photo of yourself at the beach as the backdrop to help ease some of that mid-semester stress. If your school hasn’t switched to the Google platform, use your Gmail account. Learn how to get organized with Google Calendar here.
10. Use RateMyProfessor.com to Make Sure You Get a Good Class. My $100,000 life lesson was, your education is only as good as the professors who teach your classes. I don’t care what university you go it, if your professor is tired, burnt out or just plain uninspired; your semester will be hell. I’ve been to community college classes with the most enthusiastic professors I’d ever seen. I’ve been to Ivy League classes with a washed up professor who could put coffee to sleep. After you register for the class because you think the title is interesting, head on over to RateMyProfessor.com to make sure the professor can deliver.