I Can’t Find Work: Now What?!

I Can’t Find Work: Now What?!
  • Opening Intro -

    With a degree in hand you're ready to take on the world.

    Trouble is, the world is not supplying the job you thought was waiting for you. Instead, your chosen field has dried up and the only job openings will come about when someone retires or new positions are created.


Welcome to the current job market, one that has been slapping college graduates in the face with a pair of new realities: jobs are available, but are few and far between. And, if you don’t find work within six months of graduating, you’ll find it difficult to repay your student loans. Don’t even consider the possibility of a default.

Now what?! With no job prospects on the immediate horizon, you’re in a world of hurt. Your ego has been bruised, your finances are depleted, and you’re questioning every decision you made over the past four to five years about your education and your career pursuit.

While you cannot do much about the macro economy, you can do something for the micro economy — macro as in the general economy and micro is your personal economy.

Take a Job, Any Job

Don’t believe for a moment that there are no jobs available. Job openings exist across the economy, but are particularly concentrated in the service and hospitality industries.

You may not have envisioned yourself working as a teller with a BS degree in business administration, but it could be the right job for you. At least for now. Banking may not have been on your list of career paths, but the teller job can provide you with several things you lack right now: a steady income, benefits, and the ability to begin paying back your student loans. Moreover, the hours you spend toiling as a teller will give you work experience, something other grads who are waiting for a “dream job” to materialize are just not getting.

Do your job especially well and you may get promoted. Look for work with an up and coming bank or credit union, avoiding financial institutions that may be cutting back and offer little room for growth. You may find banking to your liking and stay in the field or use it as a steppingstone to bigger and better things.

Return to an Internship

If you completed an internship, that company may welcome you back. If you ask. You may not be brought on permanently — instead, you could find yourself continuing with your internship.

The advantage here is that the company knows that you’re there temporarily and should be open to you working your schedule out to interview elsewhere as the opportunities arise. Further, if an opening does present itself, then you are a logical candidate for that position.

As for other internship opportunities, including those geared toward recent grads, avoid the low- or no-pay gigs. A recent New York Times article outlined the plight of these workers with many caught in an endless spiral of no-pay jobs.

Work as a Volunteer

If student loans are not a huge factor in getting work and you can live with someone (such as your parents) for little to no cost, your options have expanded. One area to consider is working as a volunteer, perhaps for an underserved nonprofit organization that would value your services.

Volunteering is more than doing a good deed, although that is a central reason to serve with any organization. Find the right volunteer position to align with what you’re trying to accomplish. For instance, if you want to work as a social worker, then offering your services to a senior center, an after-school child care company, or to a disability group can help you and the nonprofit. It is a “win-win” arrangement notes the Idealist.

By volunteering you gain experience, make a difference, meet new people, and you’ll get an important recommendation from the organization’s leader. It can also be the right “career exploration” opportunity to help you learn what you really want to do.

Job Considerations

Finding work after college can be a big challenge especially in fields that have contracted or have an abundance of candidates looking for work. You have little time to wait for the right job to come along. In the meantime, make the best of what you have and you’ll give yourself a pick-me-up, gain experience, and perhaps put some cash in your pocket.

See AlsoShould Internships Pay?


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Categories: Career Planning