Wondering what to get your favorite graduate? Chances are he or she could use some help getting started in the world of work.
Unemployment among college graduates is under 4 percent, but a significant share of those employed are not working in their chosen fields. Whether for a graduate heading to a hot job or one hunting for career gratification, these accoutrement will come in handy.
—By CNBC's Kelley Holland
Posted 18 June 2013
Yes, they can be stodgy, but there is a reason briefcases have stayed so popular for so long: They do the job.
Unless your graduate is headed to a white-shoe law firm, there's no need to break the bank. Kenneth Cole is just one of the many makers of moderately priced briefcase makers. Saddleback Leather also gets good reviews.
Your graduate is probably used to flip-flops and T-shirts, but it's time to learn to dress for success. You could give a gift certificate to a store like Brooks Brothers, or take your graduate shopping. It's never too early to get acquainted with good tailoring.
A car would be a big gift, indeed, but other kinds of transport also can be useful to the young and agile. If your graduate is headed to New York, for example, consider a MetroCard. A 30-day, unlimited-ride card is $112.
Americans change jobs—a lot. A study last year from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that younger baby boomers change jobs an average of 11.3 times between the ages of 18 and 46.
So it's reasonable to expect your graduate to be moving around. A session or two with a career counselor could help smooth the path.
LinkedIn doesn't have much of a young user base—a June 2012 survey put the average age of a LinkedIn user at 44.2—but recent grads can find plenty to like. It's an excellent networking tool, and the premium Job Seeker level promises to send an applicant's résumé to the top of a recruiter's pile. The upgrade costs $29.95 a month.
When you're on a job interview, it's best if your watch face doesn't feature a cartoon character. Someone just out of college certainly doesn't need a Rolex, but a professional-looking timepiece helps project an image of reliability and maturity.
Nothing says "neat" like a clean, trimmed head of hair. Your graduate will look more presentable and be more confident after using a gift certificate for a good haircut.
You could also add some grooming tools—a nice razor for a guy or a makeup lesson for a woman.
No doubt the last thing a graduate wants to think about at party time is résumé cover letters. But writing a clear, grammatically correct letter is a key job-hunting skill.
A gift of "The Elements of Style," "The Associated Press Stylebook" or "The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage" will be one turned to again and again.