4 Tips for College Graduates

The job market is rough these days, especially for college graduates. To get a job out there, it’s about who you know, or being at the right place at the right time of course.

Gone are the days when we see a job posting, send in our resumé, and have a solid chance of getting an interview, at the very least. Now, it seems that our resumés and job applications fall into a hole and can never seem to dig themselves out.

Let’s face it. Starting a meaningful career after you graduate from college is very challenging, just because it’s incredibly hard to find one. Our economy has taken a huge hit, and because of that, there isn’t enough money to pay people for work.

We’ve compiled a short list of tips that might help newly-grads figure out how they will use their time searching for jobs and getting focused on what they think will make them happy and bring in a paycheck. Here they are:

1. Network

This can’t be stressed enough. If you’re reading this and haven’t graduated yet, start building your network now. Use resources like LinkedIn to find people you know, mentors, peers, colleagues of your family and friends, etc. Add anyone you know or even remotely recognize to your list of networks and be active in maintaining a healthy dialogue with them.

Don’t just set up an account for the sake of doing it, be active. Check it every day. Join groups that are relevant to your niche market and interests, pose discussion questions, engage in private discussions with others, etc. Essentially, you want to learn the ins and outs of this social network to use it to its maximum capability. This is the network where you can display your resumé and talents. This is where you can really shine and appeal to prospective employers.

Online networking is crucial, but so is offline relationship building. Go to any and all alumni functions if they are within reach. You never know which of your friends from college got a killer job and know about other openings that might be a good fit for you. You may also run into old professors and counselors. Tell them what you’re up to, that you’re looking for a job, and would love a recommendation. Don’t be shy. Chances are that the people you are approaching have been in similar situations and would love to help you. They’ve been there. They know it’s rough.

2. Become an Intern or Volunteer

While trying to find a paid position is hard, finding one that provides only experiential compensation is highly prevalent. Consider volunteering or seeking unpaid internships with organizations you feel might be a good fit for you in the long term. While the short-term is not ideal, an internship at a respectable firm might land you a great job months down the line.

This is your chance to show potential employers that you are a hard worker and are willing to do anything to gain some real-world experience. They have nothing to lose (sans a few office supplies if you leave disgruntled) by hiring you on a temporary, unpaid basis. So go for it and seek these positions out! And remember that even if you’re working for free, you can add all of this work to your resumé, making it that much more rich in experiences!

3. Find a Temp Job

While its not ideal, you may want to consider a temporary job if you need to pay your bills. The majority of us have upwards of $1-2,000 a month in living expenses, so any sort of cash flow is necessary. Check out some temp agencies that might be able to place you in a position that will lead to long-term benefits. In other words, look for jobs that are in your field, and that you want to pursue in the future. There is a fine line here; you don’t want to get stuck in a staff position that is mediocre and not fulfilling. If you go the temp route, seek out something that has the potential to grow into a full-time and meaningful position.

Or, you can go the route of finding something REALLY temporary, like bar-tending, waiting tables, retail, etc. These will help you make some money while looking for a more permanent situation.

4. Start Your Own Business

No need to think corporation. Think small. Provide a service or skill that you excel at. Tutor if you have the skills to work with grade school kids. A friend of mine was tutoring for $60 an hour teaching upper level math and college prep skills at the high school level. This type of job requires absolutely no over-head, and you don’t have to register with the state initially. If it turns into something big, where you have such a high demand and need to hire others, then it’s time to make some decisions!

If you’re particularly good at graphic design or web development, consider marketing yourself in this field. If you can do both, all the better. This field is exploding because of the current web growth. A good way to get start up business is to post your skills on a site like Craigslist, get them on LinkedIn, and work at coffee shops in semi-affluent or affluent areas to meet people. If you can get out of your comfort zone and strike up conversations around you, you’ll be surprised at how many entrepreneurs and other small businesses need web development and/or design help.

Have you recently graduated from college in the last year? Please tell us what worked for you in the comments below!


  1. […] Graduating from college is an accomplishment that you will always treasure, an accomplishment that will stay with you for the rest of your life. But somehow, there’s something bittersweet about the experience. […]