Finding a Job After Graduation – More Than the Paycheck

Finding a Job After Graduation – More Than the Paycheck

Two of the most important things to look for when finding a job is of course finding a job but also finding a job that aligns with your values. From one recent college graduate to another, here are the steps I am taking to ensure that I find a company that is “just right.”

  1. Identify your key values 
    1. If this is something you are struggling with, it is most likely because you have yet to identify your core values. Take this time to reflect what’s really important to you and if you’re having trouble doing so, feel free to ask family and friends about what you seem to prioritize. 
    2. Some examples of key values are: collaborative work, honesty, clear communication, or work that gives back to the community
    3. To find whether your company of interest aligns with your values, you can look around on their website as many companies have their project statement or values there. If you would like to take this a step further: you can do some sleuthing on the internet from past or current employees if their companies truly uphold those values. Remember, to only take the comments from past and current employees lightheartedly as some folks don’t have the best intentions when writing reviews. 
  2. Develop a litmus test
    1. I am not talking about chemistry here, but developing a test that helps you make your decision about a company. 
    2. Know that it’s extremely rare and difficult to find a job that fits all of your values. This is when finding your core values come in handy. These core values are non-negotiable and are your “must-haves.”
    3. Things like salary levels, benefits and location are logistical requirements and should also be part of your litmus test. 
    4. Remember to not compromise your values!!!!! This may make it difficult to enjoy your workplace and assignments
  3. Creating a search plan and launching your values
    1. Now that you know what you want and need to be successful in your field, it’s time to look! Utilize places such as LinkedIn or a career coach. If you find a place that seems to check all of your boxes but seem skeptical, reach out to see if you can shadow or volunteer for them!
    2. Remember to always lead with your values. This can be done when writing a CV or when speaking to recruiters. 
  4. Stick to your values 
    1. One important thing to note is that your values are a reflection of you. They influence how you act, what you prioritize, how you communicate with others and most importantly, your work-ethic. 
    2. Your values are bound to change over time, and that’s OK!!! Stick to your values when looking for a job and when interviewing. This will give you confidence and trust in who you are.
IE Job Opportunities

IE Job Opportunities

Summer is here! ☀️ Don’t miss out on these internships & part time opportunities in the Inland Empire!💰

1. Summer Intern@ Kaiser Permanente

  • $15.00 – $20.76/HR
  • Part-time, Temporary, Internship
  • Primary Location: Riverside

2. STUDENT INTERNSHIP with various departments (Intern Pool)

  • Salary: $15.00 – $21.23 Hourly
  • Location: Throughout Riverside County
  • Job Number: 23-13896-04T
  • Department: Human Resources

3. Circle K

Summer Internships – Part-time
Pay: $20
Location: Corona

4. Kaiser
Pharmacy Internship
Location: Moreno Valley
Pay: $26.34 – $34.05

5. Walgreens
Distribution Center Intern
Location: Moreno Valley
Pay: $16.49 and $24.81

6. Cal- SOAP Programs (Summer/Fall PT Student positions must be Financial Aid eligible) 

Riverside: College Success Coach, CalSOAP (California Student Opportunity and Access Program) – College and Career Readiness/Educational Services at Riverside County Office of Education | EDJOIN 

Pay: $17.00 per hour Pre-Bachelor’s Degree; $20.00 per hour Post-Bachelor’s Degree

7. San Bernardino:    

Student Success Coaches are responsible for conducting college and career readiness workshops, assisting students with developing college and career plans, and supporting completion of financial aid and college applications. *Specialized positions to support foster youth and youth experiencing homelessness available as well! 

How to Prepare for an Interview

How to Prepare for an Interview

Interview Preparation is Critical to Success! You may have a perfect educational background and impressive extracurricular achievements, but you still need a strong performance in your interview. 

If you’re in college and you’re looking to ace an interview for your first job, internship or maybe a work-study opportunity, stick around!

Tip 1) Do the research 

  • Researching is a vital part of the interview process. It allows you to connect your skills and experiences with the goals of the company. And when you’re researching, you’re going to want to check multiple sources. 
    • Indeed company pages are really good if you’re looking to check out reviews from current and former employers. If you’re interested in finding Indeed company reviews, you can check out a link right here. You can also see posts about what the interview process is really like! 
  • During the interview, show off all of the research that you’ve done by recalling the details that align with your personal goals.
  • Using your personal connections is a smart way to find honest points of views about what it’s really like to work at a company.


Tip 2) Make a Good Impression 

  • In terms of attire: Look at the company website for indications for how their employees are dressing. A really good practice is to dress business casual at a bare minimum. If you’re not sure what business casual looks like, be sure to check out this video right here. 
  • Be on time: If you’re interviewing by video, be sure to test your microphone, your audio, your camera, and even check your internet connection the day before or hours before your interview. 
    • If you’re interviewing on-site, be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes early. 
      • Bonus tip! 
        • Note that the interview can start at the moment that you arrive. So be friendly to any receptionist that you talk to, or smile at the people that you meet while you’re waiting to be called. 


Tip 3) Know how to answer interview questions 

  • Be able to nail the “Tell me about yourself” question that briefly explains where you are in your career and where you’re looking to go.
  • When answering behavioral questions like “Tell me about a time when” use the STAR method.
    • STAR stands for situation, task, action, result. This format sets you up to tell a complete, coherent story, but also, get to the point quickly. Watch this video for examples of responses using the STAR method. 
  • If at any point in the interview you find yourself at a loss for words, simply say, “That’s a really good question. Let me think about that for a moment” 


Tip 4) Draw from all of your experiences 

  • It does not only have to be from full, paid time, professional work. Discuss your experiences from clubs or student organizations you are involved in. 
    • Choose stories that highlight your teamwork, collaboration, and leadership. 


Tip 5) Ask thoughtful questions

  • It is smart to come prepared with two or three questions that you could ask that will help you gain a better understanding of the role or the company. 
    • In addition to taking the time to learn more about the company, asking questions allows you to clarify any gray areas you have about whether or not the role or the company could be a good fit for you.

These will show your interviewer that you’re confident, prepared and ready for the role!

Additional Resources: 

Interview Tips: Do’s and Don’ts 

Tips for College Students 

How to Sell Yourself During an Interview

4 Things College Students Can Do To Nail Any Interview 

We wish you the best of luck! 

– The Let’s Go Team 


How To Set A Budget That Works For You

How To Set A Budget That Works For You

One of the exciting yet scary things about starting college is that you begin your adulting phase! Having an accurate and realistic budget can help you pay off your necessities while ensuring you have wiggle room to treat yourself! While budgeting can sometimes be daunting, it is essential as we are now responsible for managing our own money.

Here we will break down how to set a budget that works for you into five phases:

Phase one: Find out what your monthly income is

Your monthly income can come from a regular paycheck, allowance, and side gigs. If you receive a steady paycheck, make sure you are calculating your after-tax income rather than your gross income (before taxes). If you are self-employed or have side gigs, subtract anything that reduces that income, such as business expenses and take in consideration irregular income. 

Phase two: Tracking and categorizing expenses

Once you know your monthly income, it is time to figure out your expenses. You can look at your credit card and bank statements to see how you’re spending your money. While doing this, categorize your expenses to determine which are fixed (e.g., rent) and which vary (e.g., groceries, shopping) 

Phase three: Setting realistic goals

Before creating a budgeting plan, you need to list short-term and long-term financial goals. Short-term goals should take one to three years to achieve, while long-term goals may take decades. We understand that a decade sounds like a long time, but Diamonds by Rihanna was released a decade ago… 

Now that we got that out of the way, short-term goals can be setting up an emergency fund or saving up for a vacation after the school year, while long-term goals could be saving up for retirement. Your financial plans do not need to be official, but knowing them can help motivate you to stick to your budget!  

Phase four: Choosing a budgeting plan

There are many budgeting plans, but the most beginner-friendly program is the 50/30/20 rule. The 50/30/20 rule allows you to divide expenses into three categories by percentages. You spend 50% of your after-tax income on your necessities (e.g., rent, minimum payments), no more than 30% on wants (e.g., takeout), and at least 20% on savings (e.g., emergency fund). Check out the 50/30/20 calculator by Nerdwallet to get started. Remember that wants and needs vary by individual, someone’s daily coffee may be a want while another person may see it as a need. 

Phase five: Adjust and review your budget 

Congrats! You have set a budget. If you go over your budget, it happens! A budget is meant to be flexible because these scenarios do happen. Adjust your budget to ensure your necessities are taken care of first to get back on track. You may need to change your budget, but it should return to normal.


Nerd Wallet


Credit Score 101

Credit Score 101

We’ve all heard the term thrown around, but what exactly is a credit score? It seems like a random number assigned to you by the universe. Some adults have a “good” score while others have a “bad” score. Regardless of its ambiguity now, however, it is a significant number that can affect your finances as you begin your journey into adulthood. Read more on credit scores below!

Q: What is a credit score?

A credit score is a number that represents your “creditworthiness”. The number signals to lenders whether they should let you borrow money or not. It can also determine what interest rate lenders choose to charge you. The higher your credit score, the more lending opportunities you’ll have. 

A credit score ranges from 300 to 850. Typically, a “very poor,” score is one between 300 and 579, a “fair,” score is one between 580 and 669, a “good,” score is between 670 and 739, a “very good,” score is between 740 and 799, and an “exceptional,” score is between 800 and 850. 

Q: How do I get a credit score?

Your credit score is determined by a mixture of factors, each with varying significance. There are 5 main factors that determine your score: 

  1. Payment History – Payment history refers to the record you have of paying other debts on time or not. The more you pay your bills when they’re due, the better this portion of your score will be.
  2. Amounts Owed – This doesn’t necessarily regard your overall debt, but the rate at which you use your credit. Lenders want to see that you don’t use large portions of their loan all at the same time. For example, if a credit card gives you $1000, they don’t want to see you using $800 of it. 
  3. Length of Credit History – Length of credit history refers to how long you have been borrowing money from lenders. Typically, the longer you’ve been borrowing money, the better your score will get. This portion of your score will get better as you grow older!
  4. Credit Mix – This refers to the type of debts you have. There are different kinds of loans such as student loans, car loans, home loans, credit cards and retail accounts. Your credit score typically increases when there is variety in your loans. This does not mean that you must have all kinds of loans for a good score, but it signals how you’re choosing to spend your money. 
  5. New Credit – This refers to how often you’re asking lenders to borrow money. Lenders do not want to see that you are constantly asking for loans. Usually, you should wait at least six months between opening loans. For example, if you took out a credit card with your bank in January, it is best to wait until June until you go to an Electronics store for a card. 

For some people, some factors weigh more than others. For example, the first time you take out a loan, your credit score might be more dependent on the amount you owe rather than your payment history since you don’t have a “history,” just yet. 

Q: Why is a credit score important?

A credit score can determine whether you get a loan or not, and what interest rate you have to pay your loans back at. Say that you want to get a car in the near future but don’t have all the money to buy it from a car dealership. You decide to buy the car with credit but the car dealership rejects you the loan because of your “bad” credit score. It may work the same for when you want to buy a home, or even finance an expensive cell phone. 

Additionally, a credit score can be viewed by certain actors who you give permission to. For example, when you are applying for an apartment, the landlord may want to know your credit score. For the landlord, this might determine whether you’ll pay your rent on time or not. If your credit score is “bad,” they can reject you. 

Overall, the score has a significant impact in the world of finance. 

Q: Who gets a credit score?

Anyone in the United States is given a credit score determined by a set of identifying factors. Although social security number is a common identifier for lenders, they can also use your address, birth date, phone number, and more to determine who you are. In other words, you do not have to be documented to receive a credit score. 

Q: When do I get a credit score?

Your credit score starts when you open your first lending account. If you have any student loans, you already have a credit score, even if you’ve been unaware of it. 

More Resources

How to Build Credit

Check Your Credit Score for Free

Resume Building Tips

Resume Building Tips

A resume is a summary of your academic background, paid and unpaid work experience, achievements, and co-curricular experiences. It is a strong statement of your skills, abilities, experiences, and accomplishments presented in a way that demonstrates your ‘fit’ for the role you are applying to. It motivates employers to meet you to discuss employment opportunities. Reflect on how you can make your resume describe what you’ve accomplished in your roles. 

Remember: there is no one right way to present yourself on paper. It is beneficial to research the preferred way to present these documents to employers in your field. In addition, be mindful of how you format your resume, particularly with the increased use of applicant tracking systems (ATS) to assess online applications. ATS friendly resumes contain keywords that match the job description, highlight relevant work experience and professional skills. ATS stores, ranks, and scores Resumes and Cover Letters based on main keywords, formats, job titles, work experience, and so many other factors.

Resume Writing Tips: 

1. Review the job description 

  • Identify the required and desired skills and qualifications. Look for keywords. Consider using similar or same wording in your resume if you feel they apply. 

2. Create a list of accomplishments

  • List your education, jobs, volunteer and leadership positions, relevant coursework, and notable projects.
    • What did you enjoy doing or are proud of?

3. Identify your relevant skills and experience

  • Emphasise skills that you’ve gained that can be used in the position that you are applying for.

4. Write descriptive action phrases

  • What you say is important, but how you say it can make all the difference. You have transferable skills* to offer potential employers, whether you are applying to your first job or fifth.
  • Always begin your bullet points with action verbs! 
  • Arrange the descriptive phrases in order of relevance to the position you are seeking. 
  • Avoid using “I” statements and articles (“the” or “a”).

* Transferable skills are skills you have developed in multiple settings that enable you to do your job well across industries. You develop these skills in the classroom, through school projects, in jobs and internships, and through hobbies and extracurriculars.

5. Keep it Consistent 

  • No matter what formatting choice you make, maintain editorial consistency by using that format throughout the document.
    • For example, if one header is in a bold font, make sure all headers are bolded. Each position on your resume should include a title, place of employment, location and date range or year.
    • Resumes that are free of errors with consistent formatting convey attention to detail and professionalism. Always make sure to use spell check before submitting your resume! 

6. Keep it Visually Balanced 

  • The form and function of a resume is for an employer to quickly scan and get an overview of your professional experience within seconds!
  • Strong resumes have a balance of black and white space, meaning you want to avoid an overwhelming amount of text or an overwhelming amount of empty space.
  • Pick a legible font and avoid using text smaller than 10 points.
  • Don’t include any photos and keep graphics to a minimum. If you choose to use color text, make sure everything is legible when the document is printed in black and white.

Resume Building Resources: 

  • Resume Writing: LINK 
  • Online Applicant Tracking System Tips: LINK
  • Resume Writing Guide: LINK
  • Resume Template: LINK
  • Additional Resume Tips + Templates: LINK
  • Resume Tips- LINK

LinkedIn Profile Resources: 

  •  Linkedin Tips – LINK
  •  Linkedin Tips for Students – LINK

We look forward to helping you gain that next big opportunity! 


Let’s Go Team

How to Create a Cover Letter

How to Create a Cover Letter

A cover letter accompanies your resume. It states your intentions, introduces your voice, highlights specific qualifications and skills. Lastly, it encourages the reader to look at your resume. Your interview starts the moment you apply for an opportunity!

Cover Letter Look & Format:
1. Scannable
Be direct and to the point
3-4 short paragraphs

2. Clean
White space is important!
Avoid italicizing or underlining

3. Keep it Professional
Correct terms (but not jargon)
Consistent, professional font

Parts of a Cover Letter
1. Header
– The header of your cover letter should reflect the organization’s location, hiring manager and the date in which you send in your application. Make sure to do your research before submitting your materials so that you have the most up to date information!
– If the recruiters name is not available, search the organization/company on LinkedIn to see who works there and to get an idea of who might be reading your application

2. Greeting
– Specific name
– Dear Hiring Manager
– Dear Director of Human Resources
– Use a colon or comma

3. Introduction (The Ask)
– State your interest
– Identify connections (if applicable)
– Identify 2-3 skills that make you an excellent fit for the position

4. Body
– States qualifications/skills
– Previous work experience
– Concrete examples
– Impact /results

5. Closing
– Demonstrate research!
– Brand-specific information
– Mission-alignment
– Enthusiasm

6. Thank you
Include closing phrases such as:
– I look forward to speaking with you in the near future.
– Thank you for taking the time to review my credentials.
– Thank you for considering my application.

7. Include signature
– Kind regards,
– Best regards,
– Best,

Cover Letter Building Resources:
How to Write a Cover Letter
Complete guide to writing a cover letter
How to Write a Cover Letter as a College Student
College Student Cover Letter Examples

Make sure to create a new cover letter for each application (but yes, you can use a template). We look forward to helping you get that next big opportunity!

Let’s Go Team

Filing Taxes as a College Student FAQs

Filing Taxes as a College Student FAQs

Adulting is scary! Suddenly, money is everywhere and confusing. Part of that confusion can definitely stem from filing taxes. Taxes, however, can be tackled, no matter how mysterious. Here are some FAQs about filing taxes as a college student.

***Please note that Let’s Go to College CA can not offer professional tax advice. This post serves as a collection of answers found online. Consult a tax professional for specific questions regarding your unique situation***

Q: Do college students need to file taxes?

A: ANYONE who is single (not legally married) AND earned at least $12,950 is required to file taxes. Earned income includes salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and taxable scholarships and fellowship grants. 

Additionally, you are required to file taxes if your unearned income was more than $1,100. Unearned income includes taxable interest, ordinary dividends, capital gain distributions, unemployment compensation, taxable social security benefits, pensions, annuities, and distributions of unearned income from a trust.   

Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 

Q: Can my parents still claim me as a dependent?

A: Yes! Your parents can claim you as a dependent until you are 24 years old AS LONG AS they provide more than HALF of your living support AND you are a full-time college student. If your parents provide less than half of your support and/or if you are not a full-time student, you should file your taxes independently from them.

Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 

Q: Can I file my own taxes as a dependent?

A: Yes! Even if you are a dependent, you may still file taxes if you had earned income in the last year. If you had a job where you were taxed, you may be entitled to a refund. All you have to do is note in your tax return that you will be claimed as a dependent with your parents. A tax preparer or tax preparing website will assist you with this. 

Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 

Q: What is the American Opportunity Tax Credit?

A: If you/your parents make less than $80,000 a year, you may be entitled up to a $2,500 credit from the government. The credit is meant to help you pay for qualified education expenses. The main factors of eligibility are being enrolled at least half-time during the beginning of year, not having finished the first 4-years of higher education, and having no felony or drug conviction.

If the credit brings down the overall tax you owe to zero, you can have 40 percent of any remaining amount of credit (up to $1,000) refunded to you.

Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Q: What information do I need to file taxes?

A: The main things you will need to file your taxes are your social security number, your mailing address, a W-2 form(s) (provided by your employers), a 1098-T (provided by your school), and a 1098-E (provided by your school loan servicer). 

Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 

Q: Can I file taxes if I am undocumented?

A: Yes! If you are undocumented, you are required to file taxes.

Source: The Balance

Q: What if I don’t have a social security number?

A: If you do not have a social security number, but still are required to file taxes, you can use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The ITIN does not allow you to work legally in the U.S., but can be used when reporting taxes. To get an ITIN, you can apply for one through the IRS. 

Source: Internal Revenue Service and The Balance

Q: What if I don’t have a mailing address?

A: You can choose to use a P.O box for tax filing purposes. If you are experiencing homelessness, however, you can ask a shelter or service center if you may use their address on your records and they may allow it.

Source: Get It Back 

Q: Can I claim a device such as a laptop or a tablet as a qualifying educational expense?

A: Yes! If you bought a device in the last year because it was required for school, then it qualifies as an education expense. However, if you are claiming the Lifetime Learning Credit, you may not deduct equipment purchased from the education institution. 

Source: Turbo Tax

How To Land an Internship as a College Student

How To Land an Internship as a College Student

Did you guys know that internship experiences definitely spice up your resume, leading to an increased chance towards a job offer? According to FinancesOnline, “57.5% of students who experienced internship and 43.5% of graduating students without internship exposure got a job offer” (College Recruiter, 2019). Well, having previous internship experience has various types of benefits, including but not limited to, being able to land a job faster than those who do not and kickstarting your professional resume. So how does one even land an internship as a college student, you may ask. That’s why we, the Let’s Go to College Team are here to help! 

Here are some platforms you can use to secure an internship opportunity: 

Handshake- Handshake is one powerful platform that is beneficial to college students looking for an internship, jobs, work-study, or other jobs on campus. Handshake is great at its customization and curation towards your school and your own personalized experiences. For example, it tailors job recommendations, and notifications based on your needs and preferences within the platform. Handshake is great at aligning jobs and internships that best fit your career goals and interests. 

LinkedIn LinkedIn has job boards that allow you to find internships based on your preferences towards things such as location, industry, and preferred duration. As LinkedIn is a very professional webpage, it allows you to stay updated on job and internship postings regarding desired companies. LinkedIn allows students to connect with potential employers and professionals within their desired field, proving their platform to leverage their network, leading us towards another important way to gain internships: career fairs. 

Career Fairs Let’s talk about Career Fairs! Most commonly known as job fairs, career fairs are when recruiters, employers, and other schools come and display themselves for potential employees. In the higher education industry, schools provide a career fair to help students explore opportunities for their future by introducing the several career options out there.

Here are some tips and tricks from the Let’s Go Team: 

  1. Research the organization

Identify the top 3-5 companies you are interested in, but remember to be open to different companies you may not have heard of because they may be a startup or business-to-business organization that doesn’t directly serve consumers.

Do your research by reviewing company websites. Look for their mission, values, location, and the type of available opportunities (e.g., internships, full-time positions, etc.). Company representatives are impressed by potential candidates who take the time to do this! 

  1. Prepare your introduction and questions

Reflect on what it is about each company that resonates with you. Perhaps it’s the specific technology they’re developing, the research they’re leading, or the world problem they’re trying to solve. What relevant experiences do you have? How can you be of service to that organization? Exercise critical thinking skills to develop questions to ask recruiters and hiring managers. From these questions, you may even use them to practice and develop your interview answers. 

  1. Dress to impress!

Be professional, and wear professional clothes to impress your potential employer! Each industry and each company has different work attire expectations and organizational culture. Do your research, and ask mentors in advance for any other advice! 

It is important for you to start your search early and apply to multiple internships to increase your chances of securing one. You should also tailor your resumes and cover letters to match the specific requirements of each internship and prepare for interviews to make a positive impression on potential employers. We wish you the best of luck in landing an internship!