I Graduated … Now What?

For four (or more) years, your primary goal was working toward earning your diploma. Now that you have it, your next goal suddenly isn’t so tangible.

If you haven’t been able to find a job yet, your post-grad life is probably off to a rocky start. Thousands of you will still not have found jobs once you step across the stage to graduate, so know and understand that you’re not alone in this.

I know plenty of people who did not have job when they graduated, but they were still able to bounce back! Don’t get discouraged – now is not the time to give up – now is your time to start kicking in to high gear.

If aren’t sure what to do next, here’s my advice on some steps to take:

Apply, apply, apply

If you think you’ve applied to enough jobs, double that number. If you know absolutely anyone in the industry, reach out and talk to them – you’ll be much more likely to find a job through them than by submitting your resume through a job website. Also consider taking an internship (even an unpaid one) if you can’t find a job. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door and at least you’ll be doing something productive!

Enjoy your time

Although I’m not advocating slacking off for the rest of your life, enjoy the time you have left under your mom and dad’s roof. You will miss this when it’s gone and you’re off to face the perils of “the real world” on your own. I wish I could live at home still just to be around my parents more often. If you can’t find a job, at least consider finding something part time and live rent-free with your parents so you can save up some money.

Visit/research grad schools
So  many undergrads rush into graduate school because they think it’s the natural next step. But since you’ve got some time on your hands, you will be able to seriously weigh your options. Visit some schools and do your research before deciding to go somewhere. Compare the programs and weigh the pros and cons. Do you really want the debt? Will this really help you in your career? Also, use this time to practice up on the GRE.

Consider alternative programs
There are many programs at your fingertips as a post-grad! Teach for America, for example, trains you to become a teacher and places you in an education job. You could also consider joining the Peace Corps or the AmeriCorps. There are so many options out there to help you figure out what you want to do next – all you have to do is have an open mind!

Volunteer in your hometown
Many of us would love to take the time to volunteer, but we’ve been bombarded with school, homework and extracurriculars for the past four years. Once you get a full-time job, you’ll have even less time to volunteer. Take this time to volunteer at a nonprofit that means something to you. If you’re lucky, you might even find a place to volunteer that will not only help out your community but will put some valuable experience on your resume!

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