5 Things To Do If You Are Unemployed on Graduation Day

5 Things To Do If You Are Unemployed on Graduation Day
  • Opening Intro -

    You've put in the work, you've made the grades, and you have that diploma in hand.

    You are officially done with college and ready for the real world.

    There's just one problem: you don't have a job...yet.


Leaving school and entering the job market can be one of the most stressful times in the life of a young professional. After spending years in school being told that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, you are suddenly thrown into the mercy of the job market, where general principles of supply and demand dictate the options that are now open to you. You may also be buried in student debt and other financial obligations. If you relied on work study jobs to get through college, those opportunities are now given to new students who haven’t been released from the college bubble yet. So, really, what is there to do?

Here’s the good news: not having a job on graduation day is not the end of your career.

1. Save In School.

If you are reading this while you’re still in college, start saving now. Even if it’s not much, cut back on your extracurricular expenses as much as possible and put some money away to cover you during the months you’re not working. This is especially important if you plan to move to a new city after graduation, because moving expenses add up quickly.

2. Stabilize Your Income.

The first thing you need to do is find a way to stabilize your income situation. Find a non-professional job that is as flexible as possible. It doesn’t have to be a career-oriented move, but having some money coming in will help ease those real-life burdens. Look for jobs you can do on your own schedule, like online tutoring and freelance writing. Many online jobs pay comparable wages to working in a coffee shop but allow you to work on your own schedule.

3. Work Your Network.

You are, for the first time in your life, in a position where you have professional credentials. Decide exactly what kinds of jobs you want. Then, reach out to your network and let people know that you’re actively searching for a job. Talk to former professors, internship supervisors, and personal friends. If you don’t know anyone in the field you want to work in, then find people who have jobs in the field and ask them for an informational interview. Most professionals are more than happy to take a young graduate out to lunch and give you the benefits of their experience. If you reach out to higher ups in the field then you may also be talking with the people in charge of ultimate hiring decisions. While using your network, you should reach out to established contacts every 2-3 months reminding them that you’re looking for a job. For new contacts that you meet through an informational interview, you should follow up every 4-6 weeks.

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4. Have an Open Mind.

When you’re starting out in the professional job market, it is important to cast a wide net. If you got a degree in Accounting, for example, don’t just focus on jobs crunching numbers and doing taxes. Maybe there is a startup company who needs help with strategic planning and budgeting that could benefit from your skills, or maybe a non-profit needs a financial management consultant. Remember, the fact that you have a college degree gives you skills and abilities beyond the confines of your specific degree. You never know where a job may lead, or what the experience may contribute toward your long-term goals.

5. Hang A Shingle.

If you don’t land a job within a few months, you’ll have a decision to make. If you can’t find a job that interests you, chances are either that the job market in that area isn’t hiring right now or that your dream job simply doesn’t exist. In either case, starting your own business is always an option. If the thought of hanging up a shingle and striking out on your own terrifies you, then remember that it doesn’t have to be a long-term solution. Starting your own business may be something small that you do out of your home to keep your credentials rolling and help bring in some money while searching for that dream job. You never know, though – you might find that you love being your own boss.

Whatever your situation, remember that you are not alone. With economic downturns in the not-too-distant past, the job market is recovering slowly and professional labor is usually the last place to see the effects. Chances are you have several peers who are in situations similar to yours. If you share this article with them, they may repay the favor with connections that lead to your dream.


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Categories: Job Search