What to Do If You Can’t Find a Job after Graduation

By Adolfo Hatcher

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It can be challenging to find a job right after graduation. Even if you’ve worked hard to earn your degree, the job market is fierce, so you need to prepare yourself. Check out this article for some tips about what to do if you can’t find a job after you finish college.

“I throw yard sale after yard sale. Now all the stuff is gone.” “I think about money a lot.” “I've been doing a lot of research on what laundering money actually involves.” These are only a few of the depressing confessions people shared for the website Times Are Tough All Over about what they do to get by in these difficult times. The job market is more competitive than ever, and college graduates in particular are having a difficult time finding work. According to a study, recent college grads in the United States face a more challenging job market, causing them to remain unemployed or take lower paying jobs than their counterparts in the past two decades. Doesn’t sound promising at all. 

If you’ve graduated for college and can’t find a decent job, you’re not the only one. It may take some time to get hired in your chosen field, but you shouldn’t get discouraged in the process. Instead, strive to keep your expenses low, develop your abilities, and expand your networking circle. We’ve gathered a few tips that will help you through it. 

Keep Yourself Busy

Just because you can’t find a job in your chosen field doesn’t mean that you can afford to stay unemployed. After all, you must pay your bills somehow. Get a part-time gig or work temp jobs – even if they won’t do wonders for your resume, at least you’ll earn some cash and keep yourself busy. You might also learn a few useful tips about how to deal with colleagues and supervisors. There’s nothing more depressing than laying around the house all day, wallowing in self-pity because recruiters don’t come knocking on your door. 

Cut Your Expenses

If you must settle for a temp or part-time job, you’ll likely have to cut your expenses to get by. Moving back in with your parents may not be ideal, but it’s an option you can consider. It’s a pretty common practice nowadays – 45-percent of recent graduates were living with family back in 2011. Instead of spending money on rent, you could set some aside to finance your future plans. If you have student loans, defer them

Open a Business 

If you have a great idea for a new product or service, opening your own business can be a wise move. It might be challenging, but, who knows – you might invent the next Facebook and retire at 28. These are the times to take risks, because once you get older responsibilities pile up and you’ll have less time to focus on accomplishing your dreams. Come up with a brilliant business plan, research banks offering commercial lending, and put your ideas into motion.  

Freelance

Freelancing is a great way to earn some cash while looking for a job. If you manage to grow a steady client base, it might even become a full-time activity. Set up profiles on freelancing sites and start applying to jobs. You might have to settle for lower rates in the beginning, but you can renegotiate them once you build a solid reputation. You can write, program, design, translate – take advantage of what you’ve learned in school and develop your skills even further. 

Volunteer/Work for Free

If your budget allows you to, volunteering for an organization is another way to keep busy until you find a steady job. Go for big organizations like Peace Corps or Teach America. You’ll likely have to make a commitment to stay with the organization for a designated period of time, but the experiences you’ll have  will be worth it. Working for free is another way to go. Unpaid internships may not be ideal, but they allow you to network and gain some valuable experience. Plus, you may have the possibility to get a full-time position with the company once the internship ends.   

Network

Professional networking will help tremendously during your job search. Make it a habit to attend networking events, conferences, and career fairs. Spruce up your LinkedIn profile. Join your college’s alumni association and attend functions where you can meet other graduates. Sometimes it’s not all about what you know, but also who you know. 

Earn Another Degree

If you were planning to earn another degree at some point, now may seem like a good time to get it out of the way, but you shouldn’t enroll in another expensive academic program just because you’re having trouble finding employment. If this is the case, consider only working on mastering a new skill, like learning a new language. It’s less expensive and it can help you find employment. 

The key to keep your cool during this stressful period is to maintain a positive attitude and not abandon your search. Though you may not being doing exactly what you want right now, don’t get discouraged. And besides, “There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes” – William J. Bennett. Stay strong and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. 

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