Don't Have a Job By Graduation? Here's What You Should Do.
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Don't Have a Job By Graduation? Here's What You Should Do.

by Sarah Landrum
Photos Aubrie Pick | May 01, 2015


It can be a terrible feeling watching your friends land jobs left and right before graduation, especially if you've tried and tried to follow suit, but have not landed that job yet.

Frantically calling all your connections has gotten old. It might seem like your options are running out pretty quick.

Before you pass out from anxiety, take a step back. It's not the end of the world and, in case you were wondering, you're not alone. AfterCollege reported in 2014 that 83 percent of graduating seniors said they had no job lined up, even though 72.7 percent said they were actively searching for jobs.

Luckily, there's many things you can do to stay on top. First, take some deep breaths and tell yourself you can do it. Next, take a look at these eight tips:

1. Stay Active on Job-Search Engines

Social networks aren't just for leisure time. The Internet is a beautiful thing when it comes to job searching. Websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, CareerBuilder, and Monster are designed to help you find opportunities you wouldn't normally hear about by ear.

In order to get a wide range of results, broaden your search to include fields related to yours, and maybe even look for opportunities outside your hometown. Set aside time each day to look for jobs; you're bound to find the job that’s right for you, if you keep at it.

In addition to the obvious job-search engines, check out career-focused sites like Career Contessa, The Muse, and Levo League that have job boards, too. You’ll get some great career advice to help you get through the job search, and may even discover the job of your dreams. 

2. Look for Networking Opportunities

Who do you know that could talk you up at their workplace? If you haven't already, you can start with your closest network—your parents, relatives, and friends. There are still people out there, however, that you might have forgotten about asking.

Your professors, advisors, career office, and club leaders have all been there before, and chances are they know of a few great places to apply. They could even speak highly of you to their peers and get you into a job that way.

LinkedIn is also a great tool to use here, as it places a big emphasis on networking. Don’t forget Twitter and Facebook, though; there are many clever ways to use social media to land a job (that don’t include LinkedIn).

3. Find an Internship

An internship is the next-best thing to a real job. You're getting out in the real world and experiencing your career field firsthand. Instead of working a part-time job, you're applying the skills you learned in school to the workplace.

Here's some good news: In 2012, 69 percent of companies that employed 100 or more people offered their interns full-time jobs. Companies prefer hiring interns because they're already familiar with the company and responsibilities, and companies know the quality of work they’re capable of.

Even if an internship is unpaid, you can still use it as an important learning experience and a stepping stone to get you where you need to be.

4. Find a Part-Time Job

Whether you have one alongside an internship, you want some extra cash to pay the bills, or you want to fill in the gaps on your resume, a part-time job is extremely beneficial to your job search. And since you're not in school anymore, you can work way more hours than before.

If you find that you have sizable amounts of free time between shifts, consider structuring your shifts so you can set aside time for job searching in between.

5. Consider Job Shadowing

If you're curious to know what people do in your field, but can't get an internship just yet, do some shadowing in the meantime. You can follow a professional in your field for a couple hours—or days—to get a feel for what they do on a daily basis. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions and see if it’s the right fit for you. This is the best way to get a taste of a professional's typical day.

Even if companies don't have openings while you're job shadowing, they'll surely remember you when they do. Most colleges and local chambers of commerce offer job-shadowing opportunities.

If job shadowing isn’t possible, try setting up an informational interview with someone from your prospective industry, or even the company you’re looking to work for. An informational interview is a meeting with an industry professional in which you ask questions or seek advice on a career path, industry, and culture of a company. This is a great way to explore the career, become informed about the industry, and gain some contacts for down the road.

6. Consider Volunteering

You probably have some good in your heart—why not use it towards a volunteering opportunity? Even though these experiences are unpaid, they can be emotionally rewarding, plus, they look great on a resume.

Keep in mind, however, that some volunteering processes can take a while. It might be a few months before you're accepted, and you'll probably have to undergo some training.

7. Travel

If you can afford it, give yourself the chance to see the world. You might not get the opportunity again.

Studying abroad gives you the chance to explore educational opportunities in a new, exciting place. When you get back, you’ll have plenty of marketable skills; through studying abroad, you'll learn to adapt to unique situations and become more receptive to new ideas.

And if you’re nearing graduation, don’t worry—your dreams of traveling the world aren’t lost yet. Take the summer to travel to a new country either for fun or for a work-study or internship program. You’ll come away with great new experiences and a fresh perspective before starting a career.

8. Start a Blog

Do you have a passion for something? During your free time between job searches, start a blog about your passion or your prospective industry and see where it goes. It takes a lot of dedication and time to run a blog, but the results can be truly rewarding.

If you’re dedicated and consistent, you can gain a steady readership, and maybe even a source of income. Either way, you’ll have an outlet for showing off your skills.

No matter what happens, landing a job isn't impossible. You've just graduated, so you have plenty of time to put yourself out there and let the world know how unique you are. Don’t give up and use your time wisely! You’ll land your dream job in no time.

What tactics have you tried? Let us know in the comments!