GUEST POST: Graduated and without a Job? Navigating your Job Search after College

10 04 2012

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online universities advice.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

There’s often nothing scarier than graduating from college and having no idea what you’re going to do with your life. After all, you may have been told that this is precisely what college is for—to prepare you for a future rewarding career. While this can be true, the real purpose of college, in my mind at least, is to develop the ability to think critically about any given topic. This will prepare you for the work that you eventually do, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean you’ll know your exact career path once you get your diploma. If you find yourself jobless upon graduation, here are a few tips for discovering your career path, based on my experiences being unemployed when I first graduated.

  • Search your alumni database for potential job leads.

This, in my experience, has historically been the greatest untapped resource in terms of securing future employment. Of course, contacting alumni won’t directly get you a job, but it can help you figure out what you want to do with the help of people who were once in your position at the same school and now have succeeded. Find alumni in your area who are pursuing careers you are considering, and ask to meet with them for lunch.

  • Don’t necessarily take the first job you get, but don’t be too picky either.

When you’re looking for your first job, there will be long periods of time with no response from any applications, and then you may hit a spell when you’re getting interview after interview. It’s best to seek a middle ground between holding out for that dream job (which, for most people, doesn’t happen until years later) and taking the very first thing that’s offered to you. Accept a job that you feel you can conceivably excel at and a company whose culture you mesh well with.

  • Consider seeing a career counselor.

Many recent graduates will finish schooling having absolutely no idea what they want to do with their lives. If this is the case for you, it may be beneficial to visit a career counselor, who can help you access your strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits to determine which type of career you would do well in and would enjoy. For more information about what a career counselor does, check out this page on the Princeton Review website.

  • Network, network, network.

Most good entry-level jobs you will not find on job boards or classifieds sections of newspapers. You’ll have to get more creative with your job search. The most important aspect of finding a good job is getting one through someone you know. As such, widening the scope of “people you know”—also known by its cruder name, networking—is absolutely essential. You can do this by joining different young professionals groups in your area, attending conferences in your target industry, or merely doing something you enjoy—like participating in informal adult sports leagues—that requires group participation with strangers.

Finding a job in this economy, of course, is no easy task. But if you keep being persistent, you’ll an excellent first job eventually. Good luck!



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