10 Things You Should Do If You Still Can't Find A Job After Graduation
Oh, how I envy all of you bright, young whippersnappers.
You have so much ahead of you: good jobs, bad jobs, temporary jobs and maybe, for a while, no job at all.
You've graduated from college, and the road ahead is as blurry and unpredictable as your 21st birthday. Now, nearly four years out of college and running my own business, I look back on that time and remember it as one of the most teachable, precious times in my life.
Rest easy, as exciting times are imminent.
There are college graduates lucky enough to go straight from caps and gowns to real-world jobs, a 401(k) plan and cubicle to decorate.
Unfortunately, though, many of us find ourselves spending our days in pajamas, eating junk food back at our parents' house and applying for what may feel like every job in the world.
If you find yourself jobless post-graduation, here are 10 things you can do:
1. Apply for jobs (obviously).
Apply for as many jobs as you can. Leave no internship, temporary job, fellowship program, dream job or any job application you deem fit untouched.
Back in my day, when I was looking for anything PR-related, I found myself applying for jobs I was overqualified for, underqualified for and some I just didn't understand. I was curious about the world of media and all of my options.
Through endless applications and talks with a stream of recruiters, I had the chance to figure out my interviewing strengths and weaknesses.
I tailored my cover letters for every position I applied for, and I had several different versions of resumes for TV networks, PR agencies, media companies and the like on hand.
This tedious process strengthened my attention to detail and showed HR managers I knew exactly what I wanted.
2. Create a portfolio.
Between resume updates, cover letter writing and interviews, you're going to get exhausted, and you'll probably need a break.
"But I need a job," you say.
Yes, I know. So if you haven't already, create a portfolio.
Whether it's for writing, marketing, design or if it's on the technological side of things, create a snazzy little portfolio showcasing your past work, your talents and your potential.
Gather all of your accomplishments from college, even class projects that may be relevant, and create a binder to bring to your next interview. You may want to create a digital portfolio as well.
Your hiring manager will be impressed with your experience, motivation and dedication. It will also make you stand out from the crowd.
Pro-tip: I made my portfolio match my website in case the hiring manager needed to see it after the interview. You should try to make everything easily accessible.
3. Clean up your social media accounts.
Get rid of those beer pong shots and starting Instagramming your day trips to the museum. It's no secret managers, especially those working in media, will search your online presence before or after your interview.
They're assessing your potential as part of the company. By all means, show your fun, outgoing side, but do so tastefully.
Start a blog about related hobbies, and tweet about what interests you. These topics are also great conversation starters for interviews.
4. Work part-time.
When I was unemployed after graduation, I was lucky enough to make myself completely available to focus on job applications and interviews.
However, not all of us are that lucky. Some must work part-time, or even full-time, for extra money to make ends meet. Whatever it is, though, it's added experience.
Just make sure you're dedicating enough time to applying for the job that you want.
5. Work for free.
If you have the time and resources to do it, work for free, especially if it's related to your chosen field.
Do whatever you can to gain valuable experience, and add it to your resumes and cover letters. Hiring managers will appreciate you aren't wasting time and that you really love what you do, whether you're compensated or not.
I promise, you'll be rewarded in the end.
When I was bored and unemployed, I had nothing else to do but follow my musician boyfriend around. I convinced his PR team that I'd be a great, free asset. Four years later, I still get some of the best freelance projects from them, and this time, I get paid.
Volunteer at a nonprofit organization, even if it's unrelated to your chosen career path. Hiring managers will be drawn to those with a wealth of skills that might come in handy for the company.
6. Network, network, network.
With all types of social media apps, you're bound to make a connection that may lead to a job. Use LinkedIn, join Facebook groups or ask friends of friends to help you out. Join Twitter chats, and follow companies on Instagram.
As a media major, I belonged to several different groups that hosted networking parties and job fairs.
In addition, connect with colleagues from old internships and let them know you're looking for a job. Internal referrals are almost always given priority over other applicants.
7. Stay in school.
I mean, stay connected! Like networking, you should stay in contact with your old professors, advisors and mentors. Again, it's all about who you know.
Many schools have listservs that send out campus-wide emails regarding jobs and internships. Sometimes there are opportunities for graduates. It's always worth a try.
Your college will also hold regular internship or job fairs looking for undergrads, but there's a chance you run into a hiring manager who just may know of the right position for you.
As a senior student with the longest running internship, I once participated in a career talk back to encourage students to intern. Not only was I able to meet new students with similar aspirations, but executives from media companies as well.
8. Take the time to travel.
If it's an option, now is the time to travel. When you finally find that full-time job, you'll probably get only a week or two of vacation time.
You want to cherish all that you have now. Go on a Eurotrip, or drive up the coast. Take in the sights because one day soon you won't have this opportunity.
I went to the Philippines for a month right after graduation. That was the last longest vacation I had. It was a great month of spending time with family, exploring a new country, meeting new people and just relaxing.
Soon, you'll have endless bills to pay, and you'll hate it. (That's a lot of #adulting to look forward to.)
9. Enjoy life.
OK, if you can't travel, you can still have fun.
Go to the park, go to the beach, visit a part of the city you've never been to and most of all, spend time with your friends (especially those going through the same job-seeking struggle).
Like traveling, you'll never have this time again with your friends just doing nothing. Once you all find jobs, it won't be as easy making plans, believe me.
My friends and I always have our holiday parties three to four months after Christmas.
10. Don't blame yourself.
This is very important.
It's easy to fall into a state of depression after graduation. What did you do wrong? What could you have done to make your resume stronger? Maybe you should've taken more summer classes instead of summer drinking.
It's hard for anyone to find a job, let alone a new graduate. Your time will come so long as you take the time to apply for jobs, present yourself the best way you can and just let it be.
Even if you feel like you didn't do enough in college, then now is the time to change that. Do what you can to make yourself the best candidate you can be.
You will find a job one day, and the next thing you'll be complaining about is how you want a new job. The cycle will never end.
Welcome to adulthood.