You have graduated! Congratulations! The hat has been flung and the diploma [cover] is in your hand - don’t worry, the real thing will come in the mail later, hehe! As a postgrad, you know the struggles of staying up late to finish that paper or study for that test. You’ve practiced for hours to perform the perfect jury, and you’ve learned to avoid 7 a.m. classes. You have also gone through the struggle of deciding on your major and perhaps you were like me and changed it three times! Now you are standing at the entrance of the work world, fresh out of university, with most jobs wanting 3 years of experience.
I know what it’s like to not have a job after graduation. Heck, I’ve been there twice! But all is not lost when in that situation. It can be frustrating if your dream job isn’t opening itself up to you right away, but here are a few things you can do in the meantime:
1) Be Open
Widen your search parameters. Rather than focusing on your ideal job, focus on the one that fits your interest scope. Don’t settle for a job you don’t like, but be open to the unexpected. Who knows? Maybe that entry-level job that you were not really looking forward to will really open your eyes to a passion you never knew you had! You might even end up working in countries or place you never thought possible!
2) Stick to a Schedule
Stay on top of those applications and be timely in it. Dedicate certain days to do hardcore job searching so that you don’t lose momentum. Rather than sitting and waiting (because you never know when someone will get back to you), use your time wisely. Do activities that will increase your chances of landing work.
3) Reach out to your Network
This one does not come easily to me, so it may not for you. If need be, stick your neck out! I’m sure you have heard the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!” and that truly is an accurate statement at times! Send out an email to a trusted advisor, or meet someone in your same field over coffee. Don’t be afraid to make that phone call. Sometimes, jobs aren’t always listed and you can get the scoop on some of those! If nothing else, you can solidify relationships along the way.
4) Practice Your Skills - Or Build New Ones
Now that you are unemployed, it is a great time to practice your skills! This is actually how Maple Alps was born - during a season of unemployment! You may not have employment, but now is a great time to add tools to your toolbox that will make you a top rate hire! Focus on things that are of interest to you that can help you get a job in your field. If you’re interested in writing, start a blog! If you want to do photography, why not hone in on your graphic design skills? Learn calligraphy. Take some online courses. Do something you love. Pursue both professional and personal passions (loving that alliteration!)!
5) Finetune your Resume
Make sure your resume is gold. I’m sure it is already up there, but put in some extra effort to tailor your resume to the job you are applying to. Spend some time on it, making sure you take off any irrelevant information, and highlight the things that make you shine!
6) Reevaluate Your Finances - Or Make A Plan
Unemployment doesn’t usually bring in the big bucks. If you are in this boat, and especially if you have student loans you still need to pay off, it may not be the best idea to use up your cash reserve unnecessarily. Make a plan - whether that means learning how to cook more meals, not going to Target, or even getting a roommate. It looks different for every person. Evaluate your priorities so you will feel more comfortable and more in control of your situation.
7) Consider an Internship or Volunteering
I know, I know, you want to make money and many internships are not paid - and neither is volunteering. That is okay. Make the best out of interning/volunteering by logging hours, networking, and developing your professional skills. Wake up, dress up, and show up!
8) Stay Positive
It is easy to get frustrated with not having a job. I know, because I’ve been there plenty of times. You may not get your dream job right away, and what you thought was your dream job may not end up being all you thought it was going to be. Stay positive in your season of unemployment. And take care of yourself. Enjoy it, and use the best of the time! There may come a day when you will miss the freedom you had.
9) Pray About It
Be intentional about everything you do in this season, including praying about your situation. A hard prayer I prayed when unemployed was closing doors if it wasn’t the right place for me to be. Closed doors happened, but when the right door was opened, it was truly the perfect fit. Praying about it and doing the above 8 things, rather than being discouraged when years of unemployment went by, helped me stay faithful and hopeful that all was happening for the best. When I look back at that now, I can see it - even though it was hard for me at the time.
Did you get a job right out of college? What's your story? I'd love to know!