Written by Lindsey Forbes, Victoria Delie and Melissa Ung

What does “adulting” really mean? According to Dictionary.com, “adulting is an informal term to describe behavior that is seen as responsible and grown-up. This behavior often involves meeting the mundane demands of independent and professional living, such as paying bills and running errands.” What can you do to achieve your next level of adulting?

Life after school isn’t so scary. Here are Nevada YAC’s Top 5 Tips for Adulting!

Keep your resume up-to-date and have multiple versions.

You never know when your job will be eliminated (you know, like during a pandemic), when a fantastic opportunity might become available, or when someone will request your resume to nominate you for an award (like the Nevada Alumni Association awards). It’s better to be prepared than to need a total overhaul when time is limited. For this reason, you should always have at least two resumes ready to go. Your first resume will be your traditional job resume tailored to your industry only highlighting relevant or notable experience. Your second resume should be similar to your LinkedIn profile – a running list of all of your accomplishments, involvement, and experience. This is your master resume that you can pick and pull from while you tailor a resume to a job. It’s also a better representation of you when you ask for a letter of recommendation or if someone is writing a nomination. Both of your resumes should be up-to-date at all times – if you work on it over time, editing it when you need it will feel less daunting.

Know your worth – then add tax.

Applying for jobs and going through interviews can be nerve-racking tasks, but it leads us to growth and development. When going into an interview, be confident of your skillset. The company saw something in your resume and believes you could potentially be their next team member.

Always ask for the job, if you’re qualified enough to be interviewed then you’re entitled to ask the question.

Always have a book of stamps and a set of cards ready to send.

The younger generations (Millennials and Gen-Z) are not great at keeping up with traditional forms of etiquette, but your employers might still have this expectation. So it may feel weird – but after you interview somewhere you should send a thank you. While e-mail thank you notes are totally acceptable in today’s world, a paper thank you note makes you stand out. You shouldn’t only thank your interviewers but just people in your life. Thank your grandma for that birthday card, your friend for dropping that coffee by your house when you didn’t want to pay the delivery fee, or your colleagues who go out of their way to do something for you. You will find that thanking other people makes you feel good too. Science has shown that grateful people tend to be happier people so get in this routine of being grateful for the small things people do. Also – who doesn’t love snail mail?

Invest in yourself – and your future.

Don’t forget to pay yourself. With every paycheck you receive, put an amount into a savings account for a rainy day or a treat for yourself. Every little bit you save to invest in yourself will add up in the long run. If you are seeking a little bit more assistance in how to better save, seek out a financial advisor or a friend that you can go to that will help you with calculating the numbers. There is a financial path forward just for you.

Ask questions about your benefits at work or with your health insurance if you don’t understand (and trust us – most of us don’t).

There are a lot of different kinds of benefits available in the workplace today – stock options, matching retirement programs, tax-sheltered accounts. Even though it’s not interesting, and it’s incredibly confusing, you need to know what you have access to and how everything works. Stock options might seem great if the company is stable and you plan on being there a while but five years in when you’re deciding to leave is not when you want to find out that you needed to stay for ten years to actually benefit from them. Your company might also pay for a financial planner that you can meet with at no additional charge to you to help you make financial goals like paying off your student debt, buying a house, or saving for retirement. Additionally, a lot of health insurance plans offer bonus money in your HAS (health savings account) if you complete basic preventative care measures each year or some may offer different health programs you can join like diabetes prevention or weight management – all for free with your insurance. Take advantage of all of these “benefits” that come with your job but make sure you ask questions!

NEVER be afraid to ask questions.

Asking questions is NOT a sign of weakness. Questions show that you are engaged and listening. You don’t know what you don’t know.

What tips do you have to master the “art of adulting”?