By Jill Schlesinger
May 4, 2016

As the college class of 2016 prepares to graduate, many friends and loved ones are once again scrambling for a gift that can both mark the occasion and help the new grad enter adulthood. Money is an obvious option, but there are plenty of other, more creative options. Among them:

Upgrade their appearance: Replacing graduates’ old knapsacks with more professional ones — or messenger bags or totes — can help them feel more professional and put-together at work. Those focusing on more conservative industries like business, accounting or finance may need a wardrobe upgrade — even if it’s just a nicer hoodie! And many new graduates — especially those in full job-search mode — may need to upgrade a smartphone, or swap out an old, beat-up phone case with one that has a built-in battery.

Help them wise up: When I graduated from college, my godparents paid for a subscription to the Wall Street Journal — which I maintain to this day. Maybe your graduates would like an online subscription to a relevant newspaper, or to apps or online publications that can help them navigate their new professional life. If you want to give a small token, consider a classic business book. For tech-oriented grads, try Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs or The Soul of a New Machine — a classic tech creation story. For wannabe traders, Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefevre, which was first published in 1923, has more to teach about markets and people than years of experience. Know a budding entrepreneur? Try Michael Gerber’s The E Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It.

Get them hired: If your graduate has not yet landed a job, offer to give them a resume service, like ResumeMyCareer, or an upgrade for a resume app (like Pocket Resume) that helps users build, design and generate a professional-looking resume — then lets them send it out directly from their phones. Another helpful gift is to pay for a premium or advanced subscription to a job search site.

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