Career Advice

Some Good News For College Graduates & How To Capitalize On It

If you’re a new graduate or a senior in college, you’ve heard enough hard truths about the job market: It’s tough to find a job, and in some markets, it’s tough to even get an interview. You’ve probably heard the figures about recent graduates: more are moving back in with their parents than ever, and a large proportion of them can’t find work—or if they can, the jobs are low-end.

Things are bad, yes, and finding a good job is hard: but it’s not impossible – far from it. And if you hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, you’re in much better shape than most: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for those with a college education is less than a third of the national level.

So what can you do? Well, the first thing is the simplest thing: don’t give up. Many recent graduates give up searching for a real career far too early, and take the first thing that comes along to pay the bills, whether it’s working in the field they want to go into or bagging groceries. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a job to cover expenses—but keep looking for your career while you’re in that job. And remember that you don’t have to do it alone.

Make use of your school’s career services office and other local sources of help. This should go without saying, but it’s remarkable how many seniors and recent graduates don’t bother to reach out to their college’s career services or placement offices. These offices are filled with people who’ve dedicated their lives to helping their students find work. Even if you’ve been out of school for a year or two, they’re often more than happy to help you. But don’t limit yourself to your school’s offices: talk to your local chamber of commerce, and join any professional associations within the field you’re looking to enter, and attend their events—you’d be amazed at what can come of a quick chat with people in your field.

Stay active in the field you want to enter. Even if you can’t find work in the field you’re looking to get into, you need to keep building experience. If you’re looking to get into accounting, contact CPAs in your area to see if they’d be willing to take you on as an unpaid intern to help around the office. If you’re looking to break into the health care field, volunteer at a nursing home or a clinic. Keep yourself engaged at all times—it’ll pay dividends eventually. You’ll learn new skills, make new contacts, and your resume will show employers that you’re genuinely interested in the field.  

Think broadly and get new perspectives. Don’t limit yourself to a handful of job titles. Reach out to your school’s alumni network and speak with people in your field. Find out what they do, how they got where they are, and learn about the other positions within the field you’re looking to enter. You might not just learn a thing or two—you might find a job you didn’t even know existed in which you’re more interested.

Is it easy finding a job right now? Heck no.

If you’re a recent graduate, you’re probably going to have to deal with plenty of frustration, and you’re going to have to learn not to take failure personally. But stay positive, and don’t give up: the only jobs you’re guaranteed not to get are the ones you’re not applying for. Remember that you’re in a much better position than many. Keep your finances in order and keep your head up. Things might not be perfect right now, but if you keep plowing forward, they will get better. – Original post by myFootpath’s Nate Abbott