20 Graduation Gifts That Will Actually Prepare Them for Their First Job

Mark their milestone with a gift that will also conveniently help further their careers.

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May 08, 2019

Cuisinart Coffee Maker

Consider this the perfect two-in-one gift: a quality coffee maker will both prepare your college grad for the professional world and help them settle into their first apartment. We suggest easing the transition even more by shopping the Cuisinart DCC-3200 model, which can be programmed to their schedule and comes with a self-cleaning mode, so they don't have to be totally responsible.

Buy It: Amazon, $74.99 (Originally $185.00)

Reusable Round Lunch Box

Buying lunch every day gets expensive pretty quickly, so encourage your young professional to be budget-savvy and pack their meals in this to-go bowl. The durable design pairs a rigid lid with a snap-tight strap, so the contents will stay safe until they've arrived at their desk.

Buy It: Urban Outfitters, $25

Smiley Face Sandwich Cutter

Here's a gag gift that we know your college grad will actually (secretly) appreciate. Now that you're no longer obligated to cut the crusts off all their sandwiches, present them with this device, which turns every slice of bread into a smiley face. The whimsical gadget will remind them of home and make the meal-prep process a little more bearable.

Buy It: Urban Outfitters, $8

Sunrise Simulator Clock

Entering the "adult world" is jolting as is, and the last thing your grad wants is to wake up to the blaring sound of an alarm clock. Luckily, you can gift them a sunrise simulator, which will help them wake up before their alarm and always get to work on time.

Buy It: Amazon, $28.99

Sophisticated Wristwatch

Of course, a good wristwatch never goes out of style. Sophisticated with its navy blue strap, this 28mm watch will elevate your grad's professional wardrobe and keep them right on schedule. We also love the Mother of Pearl dial, which feels fun for a young professional.

Buy It: Macy's, $85

Wireless Headphones

We have a feeling that your college grad will gladly accept a new pair of wireless headphones. Available in millennial pink and mint green, these babies are Bluetooth compatible, comfortable and essential for their morning commute or cube.

Buy It: Anthropologie, $88

Motivational Mug

Share some words of wisdom while you still can and gift them a mug that says "Do your own thing." The ceramic cup will not only help them stay awake at work but also remind them to pave their own career path.

Buy It: Urban Outfitters, $10

Always-Prepared Pouch

With room for a phone, pen, credit cards and spare change, this pouch is perfect for grads who will soon spend their days running from meeting to meeting. Since the accessory is so compact, it'll slip right into their bag or serve as a wonderful wallet during Happy Hour.

Buy It: Anthropologie, $48

Instax Sticker Set

Rumor has it that homesickness can be cured with a few photos of their favorite people. If your grad already owns an Instax Mini, shop this set of sticker sleeves so they can fill their work computer with familiar faces.

Buy It: Urban Outfitters, $10 (Set of 5)

Modern Desk Riser

If they've already claimed a cubicle, upgrade their new digs with a desk riser. This piece is made from sturdy steel and gives young professionals a place for their laptop, books and office supplies.

Buy It: Urban Outfitters, $39

Sleek Phone Stand

Help them keep their cube clean and distraction-free with a phone stand inspired by the look of a desktop computer. The soft-touch silicone stand fits iPhones 6, 7, 8 and up and props the phone so it's visible but not in the way.

Buy It: Urban Outfitters, $39

Paper Mouse Pad

Nothing will keep them on-task at work like a mousepad that doubles as a to-do list. We adore this desk accessory because it categorizes the day by "Gotta Dos," "Oughta Dos" and "Wanna Dos," so your kid can see what to prioritize.

Buy It: Urban Outfitters, $12

Bold Business Cards

Here's a gift we guarantee your college grad hasn't thought about yet. Before they head out into the "real world," hand them a stack of their very own business cards, tucked neatly inside the complimentary card holder. They'll appreciate having a few of these on hand once they start networking.

Buy It: Minted, 25 for $54

Convertible Carrying Bag

Set them up for success with a backpack that converts into a shoulder bag. They can wear the piece as a backpack on their way to work, then switch it to a shoulder bag once they've arrived at the office. Plus, two outside pockets and a laptop compartment ensure they've got a place for all their gear.

Buy It: Amazon, $45.95

The Modern Manual

If you can't give them an actual guidebook for navigating the workforce, the next best thing might be a copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Written by leadership authority Stephen R. Covey, this book will teach them how to prioritize, plan and communicate with their peers (and people in general).

Buy It: Amazon, $7.62 (Originally $18)

Inspirational Reading Material

Don't forget to add a copy of Brene Brown's Daring Greatly to their post-grad, pre-career reading material. In its discussion of the importance of being vulnerable, this book will inspire them to put themselves out there.

Buy It: Amazon, $10.20 (Originally $17)

Daily Planner

Help your young professional keep track of upcoming assignments and appointments with this pretty, daily planner. We love this gift specifically because each page comes with a spot for daily objectives, schedules, to-do lists, projects and notes. We're pretty sure there's even room to pencil in phone calls to Mom and Dad.

Buy It: Urban Outfitters, $24

Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses

Whether they're submitting applications or sitting at their very own desk, your grad will definitely appreciate a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. These cool frames from Cyxus filter out harmful blue rays from computer screens, thereby preventing eye fatigue and headaches.

Buy It: Amazon, $19.90 and up

Gold #Girlboss Dish

When in doubt, dress up her desk with this gold-trimmed dish; she'll love the little reminder to embrace her inner #girlboss. She can use the trinket tray to hold push pins, paper clips or other odds and ends.

Buy It: Paper Source, $9.95

Oprah Pencil Set

It never hurts to have a few extra pencils lying around, particularly those that shine with the words of Oprah. Pick up this seven-pack so your grad stays sharp and motivated on their career path.

Buy It: Etsy, $14 (Set of 7)