Photo: Baim Hanif on Unsplash
Graduating college is a momentous step in your life. With it comes the realization that it’s finally time to leave school and move on to the real world. Though exciting, it’s a nerve-wracking time as well. You must apply to jobs, and go to intimidating interviews With the job market currently very tight, it’s not surprising to see upwards of 1,000 applicants for coveted jobs, or even any job. Given that, it’s not as easy anymore to simply have a job lined up straight after college. Some fields are highly competitive, and a job is not necessarily going to fall into your lap after graduating. If you find yourself in between post-grad and the real world, here are some things to do in the meantime:
Keep Applying to Jobs
Though it is possible that recruiters may contact you, it’s best to keep applying to jobs as this is fairly unlikely. You will want to keep sending a rolling barrage of applications to different job openings to make sure your resume is being exposed to as many opportunities as possible. If you have a flexible degree that can be relevant to multiple fields, consider widening the scope of your search to jobs that are in different lines of work.
Though it’s important to land a job as soon as possible, as student loan payments won’t go anywhere, take the time to weigh your options. You can apply to, and possibly even get an offer for a job you feel you are not qualified for or one out of your field. Professional jobs are hard to come by, but weigh whether it is in your best interest to work in a job that is not as interesting to you, or may not align with your long term professional goals. Consider whether you would be happy with any job you consider taking.
In the end, your qualifications on your resume, and verbal skills in an interview speak for themselves, so don’t worry about not landing your ideal or dream entry level job right away. Keep trying, because you are doing everything in your power to start getting a paycheck and begin life in the real world. Everything else is out of your control, but it will work out.
Consider an Internship
If you are yet to land a job post-grad or feel your qualifications can use an improvement, consider an internship. Whether doing one for the summer or even the Fall, any experience you can get is beneficial to yourself, your resume, and your chances of landing a job. Though internship options are usually limited for post-grads, doing a bit of research can reveal good opportunities. In addition, an internship can fill the big hole right after graduation and for the time until you land a job. An internship gives you something to do that buffs up your resume, and doesn’t leave you in a jam about how to spend your time productively. Weigh the options about working in an internship that is unpaid, paid, remote, or in an office. Sometimes, a remote, unpaid internship may be more practical, but an unpaid office internship in another city may be a golden opportunity to land a job. Think about how the structure of the internship itself would affect or benefit you.
Consider a Part-Time Job
This is an alternative to an internship, as getting a part-time job is some means of gaining experience and an income for a temporary period. It may not be ideal to work in jobs that you may have previously in high school or college, but they are temporary and provide something to do. It’s a great thing to do while looking for a full-time job.
Life right after college can be just as stressful as college itself. You are transitioning into a major new phase of your life. It’s tough these days for every recent grad to land a job right away, due to the competitiveness of the entry level job market. Keeping a focused mindset is crucial to treading these waters and whatever needs to be done to reach your professional goals should be your priority. If you are taking the proper steps to land your first job, whether it’s building on your experience, seeking industry connections, or actively applying, you will be rewarded sooner rather than later.
Rishi Patel is a senior majoring in Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. He has written as an intern for SPORTalk and Study Breaks Magazine. He also loves to write fiction, non-fiction, and poetry as a hobby to expand his writing prowess. He hopes to work as a writer/editor when he graduates.