Getting Your Start in the Business World: The 5 Personal Investments You Need to Make

| September 18, 2012

Finance (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

Getting your start just out of college takes more than landing a job. If you’re going to be heading into the professional world straight from school, this will take a major life adjustment. Not only will you need to be prepared to deal with the struggles of a 40 hour work week, daily commute, and completely new atmosphere, you will also be required to make some fast financial investments into the essential materials needed to make a great impression and deal with the transition from college to business life. It can be hard to know exactly where to spend and where to cut back, especially on a limited budget. So, here are a few key things that you will need sooner rather than later if you want to take your new job by storm:

 1. A Professional Wardrobe.

While this is often an investment that many ex-students make in small increments as their paychecks trickle in, you have to remember that giving off a great first impression has a lot to do with your personal style. There is no need to rush out and buy designer items or expensive suits right off the bat, but it is important to think about the clothing you wear as a professional investment. What you need to buy will depend on the atmosphere of your office. Daily suit and tie requirements mean that you’ll need at least two functional suits. A white, light blue, and pinstripe button down will work to get you through your first couple months. The best thing to do is avoid paying full price for the little stuff. Shop at outlets for your shirts and ties to offset the cost of buying a few high-quality suits.

 2. Reliable Transportation.

Whether it’s making an investment into the functionality of your current vehicle, financing a new used car, or just making sure you always have enough saved to account for public transportation, you have to make good transportation a huge priority. Showing up late multiple times when you’re just starting a new position is never a good look, so make sure that you allot exactly enough time to make it to the office, fill your gas tank, and make sure your car is in good driving condition.

 3. A High-Quality Work Bag.

Your wardrobe may change from day-to-day, and could range from casual to professional depending on what you do, but the one thing you can do to always look professional is to invest in a nice-looking work bag. You may need a briefcase, a portfolio, or a shoulder bag, but you will definitely want something to keep your odds and ends in, and make sure your documents and other work materials stay in good condition. This is also a great way to give off a professional impression, even if your attire fluctuates from day-to-day.

 4. A Smartphone.

This isn’t an absolute essential. The old flip phone that you just can’t afford to replace will definitely work just fine for all your basic needs. But, if your career requires meeting with clients, sending photos or videos on the fly, checking your email out of the office, or relying heavily on GPS, then a

smart phone will be well worth the investment and won’t leave you feeling out of the loop.

 5. Lunch That Isn’t Frozen.

This is also not an absolute essential. You can exist just fine on Ramen noodles and microwave burritos for your daily lunches, but this is not at all healthy. If you really want to perform at your finest, you will need all your nutrients and something with a little more substance to hold you over until dinner. The other option is to eat out daily, but this is one of the biggest financial mistakes young grads tend to make, as lunch tabs add up fast. Make a plan to cook healthy meals at home at least four times a week and take your leftovers in for lunch.

Carol Wilson is a versatile guest blogger who primarily writes about global business trends and finance. When she’s not writing for sites like, she enjoys reading about politics and fashion. If you have any questions or comments for Carol, please send them to

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