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What To Do If You Cannot Find A Job After Graduating - 10 Tips

When I was studying at the University of Florida, I didn't live at home with my parents. With my degree in industrial engineering, I had imagined starting a career straight away. But instead I found myself unemployed, stressed out and sent lots of applications. In fact, unemployment and frantic resumes sending is the common practice for recent college graduates these days.

When you're in this position, it's hard not to let you down - but while the job market struggles, you're not entirely lucky. Here are 10 tips to help you survive, stay on track, and stay ahead of the competition.

What to do when you can't get a job

1. Stay positive
Don't be upset or surprised if you don't have a job after graduation day. It is important to stay positive and keep your search going. One way to calm down positively is to remember how far you've come - just like the challenges you face at school, you will manage to be unemployed.

And remember, it's important to set aside at least an hour each day to do something you really enjoy. Jog, read a book, or hang out with friends and family. This can go a long way in helping you maintain a positive attitude, which could be exactly what gets you a job.

2. Reduce your living expenses
If you have no income, you need to cut back on your expenses. And since you don't know how long you've been unemployed, start avoiding spending quickly to avoid running out of savings and accumulating debt.

  • Back home . Moving in with your parents has enormous savings potential. Many parents do not charge their children rent, utilities, or even food. In fact, when I got home after graduating from school, my parents saw it as their last chance to support me financially; it was some kind of college graduation gift. It was also nice to be encouraged and emotionally supported by my family during this challenging time. Make sure you don't mess with your parents. Also, do something for their friendliness, such as cleaning, cooking, and mowing the lawn.
  • Deferring Student Loans . Postponing a student loan means temporarily suspending loan payments. There is usually an automatic six month grace period before you need to start paying back student loans after graduation. However, if you are struggling to find a job, six months may not be enough. If you find yourself in this situation, postpone your student loans until you have an income.
  • Put yourself on a budget . One of the best ways to save money is to protect it with a personal budget. Determine the amount of money you have and how much you can spend each month for a period of time (maybe a year). Then limit your spending to this amount per month. Consider putting down your credit cards and using the envelope system if you are prone to over-investing.

3. Spend time networking
Professional networking can really pay off when looking for a job. Often it's not what you know, it's whom you know.

Here are some places to network:

  • College Alumni Associations . As a recent graduate, you may receive phone calls and emails from your college's alumni association asking you to join or donate money. Join if you want, but more importantly, find out if there are any functions you can visit to meet other alumni. People love working with other alumni and you may be able to find someone through such a connection.
  • Network events Find networking events in your community online. Once you attend these events, you may receive information for others not listed online.
  • Career fairs . Career fairs are becoming more common, and they can be hosted or sponsored by a school, company, or even a city. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunity by looking online, the newspapers, and the news.
  • Professional organizations . Much like college graduates, many people relate well to those who are in their professional organizations. In fact, it was through a professional organization (the Institute of Industrial Engineers) that I found my first job after graduation. Even if you don't want to network, join a professional organization and take part in some activities to update your resume with current industry events.
  • Conferences . You can meet many people by attending a conference related to your job or industry. Individual conferences are usually held once a year and can be held anywhere in the country. The cost of attending these events is often high, but if you leave the conference with a few job leads, it could be worth every penny.
  • Job shadowing opportunities . In job shadowing, you can experience a day in the life of a working person. Even if the company you shadow doesn't have a current opening, they can remember you when they do a to have. Look for job shadowing opportunities at your college or local chamber of commerce.
  • LinkedIn . More and more people are finding work through social networks, and LinkedIn is the professional social network. LinkedIn enables you to show who you are, along with your degrees, experience, and what specific line of work you are looking for.

4. Consider going back to school
This may not be ideal when you have looked forward to getting to work. However, if you are planning on getting another degree, it might be best to just get it out of the way during the time the economy can recover.

On the other hand, if you do Not planning to get another degree, don't jump into an expensive academic program out of frustration. As you know, getting a degree takes a lot of time, money, energy, and determination, and it's not worth just having something to do.

5. Keep yourself busy
Finding a job is often full-time in itself, don't put your life on hold. Get part-time work with a temporary employment agency, pursue your hobbies or learn something new. You might even want to get additional training or licenses for your career.

6. Expand your job search
It's been seven months since I got my first job. I later realized that I had kept my job search too narrow by looking in a limited area only within certain industries and one that required minimal travel. If I had been more open, I would have found a job much faster.

Broaden your search to find a job faster, and especially if you've been searching for several months. Open up to more locations, industries, career types, and entry-level positions, even as you qualify for a higher-level job. Focus on getting your foot in the door and try not to be too idealistic.

7. Build your skills
Any time you do an interview and are overlooked for the job, ask the interviewer what skills they recommend you to improve on. If you had difficulty answering the interview questions, ask a friend or family member to help you conduct fake interviews. This will also improve your confidence.

8. Volunteer or work for free
In some industries, it is common for a new employee to complete an unpaid internship before becoming a paid employee. If you can't find a paid job, consider this option as a way to gain experience and network. You could have a paid job before you know it.

Another option is to sign up for an organization like the Peace Corps, Teach America, or AmeriCorps. Remember, it takes time to be accepted as a volunteer and these organizations require a commitment. For example, my sister joined the Peace Corps - the voluntary admission process took nine months, plus two years of commitment and three months of training.

9. Start a business
If the corporate world isn't working for you, take matters into your own hands by starting a business. Focus on an area that you have a lot of knowledge in - for example, if you are good at computers, a repair shop can be the perfect business to get you run out of your house. Consulting firms are also low-risk companies that require little start-up capital.

10. Start a blog or website
If you have a passion that you want to share with the world, write about it and see where it goes. For example, healthy cooking, personal finance, sports, couponing, and new technology are popular topics online. It takes work and dedication to develop your blog, and it takes patience and smart social media marketing to build a readership - but in time you could find yourself with an engaged following and a solid source of income.

Last word

My life hasn't slowed down since I got a job. And while I've enjoyed it every time, I doubt I'll have that much free time after graduation until I retire. I regret giving in to the stress of the situation and not taking advantage of it. If you're just a college graduate who hasn't found a job, you know that if you are diligent and open-minded, you will find one. Keep your head up, stay positive and enjoy your "free time" as much as possible.

What other tips can you suggest to college graduates struggling to find a job?