It’s a harsh reality today, that many college graduates will finish school without securing a job offer. Contrary to popular belief, this impacts students of all majors, from Liberal Arts to the Hard Sciences. The following are a few tips on what to do if you find yourself without a job at graduation time. I asked myself ‘what would I do if I were in that situation?’ And here is what I came up with:
1. Find a Part-Time Job
The last thing you want to do is sit at home and wait for opportunities to come to you. Even if you have to work at the local coffee shop for now, get yourself out there working and earning a paycheck. It’s easier to find a job when you already have a job, even if it’s part time. Employers like to see that you’ve been proactive and using your time productively.
2. Schedule Your Job Applications
Finding a job is a job. Just like you would go to a day job each day at a certain time, you should be applying for jobs on a regular schedule as well. Start by compiling a list of companies and positions to apply for (make sure you look for positions outside of your major as well). Then get to work sending out applications and resumes. Keep applying until you have a written job offer in hand.
3. Offer Your Services For Free To Local Businesses
One reason I suggest getting a part-time job, is so that you have the flexibility to offer your services for free to a local company as a trial for a possible full-time position. For larger companies, you’ll need to use their website to apply for jobs. However, for local/regional companies, you may be able to just drop in and ask the owner or manager if there is anything you can do to help out. Even if they do not have any positions open at the time, you can offer to help out for free in exchange for meaningful work experience, referrals, and the opportunity to compete for future positions at their business.
4. Consider Freelancing
Freelancing can be a great way to earn some cash while also getting work experience to boost your resume. If you have a skill that people would be willing to pay for, put yourself out there and see if you can get some business. Whether you are good at fixing computers, teaching Spanish lessons, writing blog articles, or even walking dogs, there are plenty of freelancing opportunities out there. Remember, this does not have to be your passion or career goal. But learning how to connect with people and sell them a valuable service is a skill you can take into any job in the future.
5. Be Flexible
You may need to move out of state for that first full time job. You may have to take a lower than expected salary. You may work in an industry you hadn’t considered during college. Be open when searching for a job. You never know, the job you think you’ll hate could be the job you end up loving for years to come. Apply for any job you qualify for. You can always lateral into a new role later if you are truly unhappy. The world is full of opportunities that we are not even aware of during college.
The first position I was offered after graduating was “Change Management and Human Capital Consultant”. If you’re a business major you probably know what that means. I had no idea what that was as a Political Science major. However, because I was flexible and applied for jobs outside of my field of study, I was offered interesting opportunities. This could happen for you as well, but you’ve got to be open-minded, tenacious, and flexible in your job search.
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