Gift Ideas for the Recent Graduate

Your friend or family member graduated from college -- congratulations to them! Now, what to give them as a gift?

Your friend or family member graduated from college — congratulations to them! Now, what to give them as a gift?

Graduating from college is a huge accomplishment, so of course you want to honor the young scholar in your life. Just think of all the places their lives will take them!

There’s just one problem: You know that stereotype about broke college students? That’s not going to change for a while after graduation. They’ve got to find a job (which is sometimes much easier said than done), locate a place to live, and get started on being a grown-up. That’s tough to do when you’re starting from scratch.

But that’s where you come in! If you’ve got a friend or family member who’s graduating, we’ve got some gift ideas to help them embark on post-college life:

1. For the job they’ll have

When people graduate, suddenly their lives become focused solely on finding a job. You can help with that by giving gifts they’ll be able to use as a young professional.

  • Clothing or accessories appropriate for interviews or workdays will be much appreciated – every interviewee wants to look polished and professional to help their chances of landing and keeping a job.
  • A resume service could be very useful – there’s an art to creating a resume that will catch the eye of potential employers. There are plenty of services all around that offer advice on making any resume effective.
  • Likewise, a session with an interview coach could help a recent grad land the perfect job. Anyone can use a few pointers on how to conduct themselves in an interview so they’ll make a great first impression.
  • Every young professional can use a nice laptop bag to carry to and from work.

    Every young professional can use a nice laptop bag to carry to and from work.

    Finally, a nice briefcase or laptop bag is the perfect accessory for an interview or day in the office.

Moving after graduation? Check out our infographic: Top 10 Cities for College Grads: Post-Graduation Moving Trends.

2. For the money they’ll make

Many people consider graduation a great time to start thinking about the future. In that vein, why not set up or contribute to a Roth IRA for your recent graduate? They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness now, but they’ll be especially happy when it comes time to retire and they have a nice little nest egg, partially funded by you.

Many young people are overwhelmed at the choices in front of them when it comes to investing and saving money. Surely they’d appreciate some financial advice as a gift – you could sit down with a recent grad and give them some one-to-one advice, or if you’re no expert yourself, a nice book could do the trick.

Need some book recommendations? We’ve got them: The Top 5 Personal Finance Books.

3. For the home they’ll create

After college, it’s time to get some real kitchen accessories – no more drinking out of plastic Solo cups.

  • Any graduate will appreciate some grown-up glassware for nights in with friends and family.
  • You could also buy someone a starter set for the kitchen – a few place settings, pots, pans and utensils. It doesn’t have to be fancy stuff; durable everyday kitchenware is an uber-practical gift.
  • Anyone with their own place – male or female – needs a few tools as well. Consider giving a small toolbox with some basic necessities: Hammer, screwdriver, pliers, wrench. These starter tools will help your young friend hang pictures on the wall, do minor maintenance tasks, and learn to become more self-sufficient.

Looking for cooking tools? We have recommendations for The Best Kitchenware on a Budget.

4. For the places they’ll go

Many graduates dream of traveling the world, either for their jobs or in their vacation time. There are many fun, inexpensive accessories you can give as gifts to support that dream:

  • Passport holders make great presents, as well as travel logs for them to document their many upcoming adventures.
  • If your recent grad loves vintage accessories, an atlas might make them happy – there’s something romantic about plotting a trip on paper instead of online.
  • If they prefer the digital life, gift them with iTunes or Amazon gift cards so they can download music and audio books to keep them entertained on their travels.

If you know someone who’s traveling, you might share The Benefits of Renting Vs. Staying in a Hotel.

Congratulations to all the college graduates out there! What would you like to receive as gifts?

Photo credits: Shutterstock / sippakorn; Flickr / fohlin

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