What to Do if You Can’t Find a Full-Time Job After College

What to Do if You Can’t Find a Full-Time Job After College

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So, you’ve just graduated college and are looking for a job within your field of study. However, you are struggling to get a job. What should you do if you can’t find a full-time job after graduating college?

One can work part-time, complete an internship, network, continue schooling, and earn certificates if they can’t find a full-time job after they complete college. Former college students need to be open to new opportunities and may work in a field that is outside of the field they studied in.

Whether you are a recent post-graduate looking for a job or a veteran of the workforce looking for something new, it is helpful to know where to start. Keep reading if you want to know why some people struggle to find a job after they graduate college.

Why People Struggle to Find a Job After College

Many people just expect that after they have their degree in hand, everything will fall into place. They’ll find a job easily, because that degree is all that employers care about, right? In reality, there is so much preparation that goes into landing a professionally paid, full-time job. For many people, it comes down to whether or not they are prepared.

Ensuring that your resume is accurate and full of job experience and volunteer work is something that will help you find a job after college. Lackluster resumes hold people back from finding a full-time job, as the resume doesn’t stand out to the potential employer.

If you are applying for a high-level teaching job and the only experience you have is a few summers mowing lawns, you are not going to impress the hiring team. However, if you’ve worked as a teacher’s assistant, volunteered in the classroom, and have a teaching certificate, you will catch the hiring team’s eye. The key is to set your sights on the job you want, then build up your resume with experiences that show you have skills you will use for that job.

Many people wait until after they graduate to begin their job search, but that is a mistake. Landing a full-time job in your field can take months or up to a year. If there is some time before you graduate, start looking for jobs now! Start applying for jobs 3 to 6 months before you are available to start work or graduate. For most students, that’s the beginning of your last semester.

In addition, many people struggle to land a job after college because they mess up during their interviews. When you go in for a job interview, it is imperative that you tailor your interview answers to that job specifically and come prepared to answer many questions about yourself and your job experience.

For example, if you are applying for a managerial position at a tech company and the interviewer asks you why you will be a good fit for the company, don’t say something generic like “I have experience managing people in a workplace.”

Research the company beforehand so you can give an answer tailored to the company’s needs. You might say something like: “I know that one of your company values is integrity. Based on X experience, I was able to learn that value, and here’s how I will demonstrate that when managing other employees,” or something similar.

A Saturated Market: a Graduate’s Worst Nightmare

Lately, it seems like everyone has at least an undergraduate college degree. This can be especially intimidating for new college graduates that are trying to find a full-time job. Not to mention the fact that the market is saturated, meaning that demand for services or products is being met, and then some. In this case, that service or product is people. There are too many people who are qualified, causing a battle over the same jobs.

To many, this can sound like a recent college graduate’s worst nightmare. How are they supposed to compete with people who have been in the industry for years? But in reality, employers are always looking for new faces and fresh ideas, and not just because they can pay you less. Keep reading to find out more about how you can stand out against other working professionals. (Source)

Internships: The Best Way to Supplement Your Experience 

Lately, it seems like employers expect at least two years of experience for a starting-level position. How is that possible? You’ve just graduated college, how can you be expected to have any real experience in the field? The answer is internships.

Internships provide an opportunity to work in a specific field on a part-time basis. They can be paid or unpaid, but internships allow you to gain experience and break into a field of work. They can also be great talking points during job interviews.

You may be surprised to learn, however, that not all interviews are created equal, and you shouldn’t necessarily take every internship that is offered to you. While some internships provide a valuable way to gain experience that you will need going forward, others are just a way for businesses to take advantage of this avenue of unpaid labor. Before accepting an internship, you’ll want to make sure that you will be a contributing member of the team.

When you are looking into an internship, it will be helpful to talk to past interns about their experience to see if the internship will be a good fit for you and your goals. Most internships also have a clear job description, and if there isn’t, be sure to ask for one in the interview.

All in all, internships are one of the best ways to prove to your future employer that you are up to the task of professional work. Internships provide the experience of working in a professional environment alongside full-time employees. They can also help you decide if your chosen field is really what you want to do.

Tips For What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job

So, we’ve talked about why people struggle to find a job after college, we’ve talked about the state of the market, and now you know all about internships. Now let’s dive into the real stuff! Our best tips and tricks for finding a full-time job after you graduate:

  1. Networking: We put this first because, a lot of the time, it’s more about who you know than what you know. Networking is basically making friends with the right people. It is forging connections with people in your industry who can help connect you to jobs in the future. Talk to people in your field of work, even before you start working in it, and go to field events. Read more about networking here.
  2. Obtain good references: These should be people who can speak to your skills as an intern, student, or employee. You can tailor these to the job you’re applying for as well. If you are applying to be an editorial assistant, who can best speak to your editing skills? Your literature professor or the team lead of your internship at a publishing house? Only you can know. If you feel that you don’t have strong references, that may be because you lack experience.
  3. Pursue opportunities: Seek opportunities that will help you hone and refine your skills as a professional. It may be painful to bite the bullet and accept that unpaid internship, but if that’s what you need to do to work on your leadership, writing, or research skills, then it’s probably worth it. Use your university’s resources to help you find internships and other opportunities that will make you a competitive candidate.
  4. Adjust your expectations: Maybe you really want to get a full-time position at a large firm in your hometown. However, that may not be possible. It is important to keep realistic expectations when searching for a job post-college. Odds are, you’ll be in a starting level position, which is typically lower paying than something you might apply for five or ten years out. If you are very specific about the type of job you want, you might consider relocating to a new area. Keep your eyes open and be flexible, and you will be surprised at how many opportunities there are for full-time positions.

How to Reduce Stress During Your Search

A recent survey shows that nearly 45% of 2020 college graduates are still looking for a job. It can feel pretty defeating when you’re part of that 45%. But, one of the best things you can do for yourself, aside from bolstering your resume and references, is to reduce stress while you are job searching. Here are a few ways to do that:

  1. Lower your current expenses: When things are tight financially, the natural stress of the job search and interview process is just exacerbated. Take a look at your budget and make sure you are living within your means.
  2. Secure a temporary job: Even a job as a cashier at Target is better than floundering until you secure a job you want to keep long-term. Working a temporary job in food service, sales, or retail is a great way to keep yourself busy and meet your expenses until you secure the full-time position that you actually want.
  3. Pursue hobbies: When you’re caught up in the job search, it’s not unusual to feel anxious and even aimless, like your identity is tied up in the job that you have. But remember, you are more than what you do for money. Pursuing hobbies you enjoy can help you not only de-stress, but they also help you remember that your worth is more than your job.
  4. Stay positive: It is important to not let yourself get discouraged, even if the job search is taking you longer than planned. If you follow the strategies presented in this article, you will find a full-job eventually. It’s just a matter of time.

Tools to Use to Help You Find a Full-time Job

LinkedIn is a wonderful and commonly-used tool that you can use to help you find a full-time job. Remember what we said about networking? Well, LinkedIn is an online tool that helps you do just that. You can also apply directly to jobs on LinkedIn and learn more if you subscribe to certain services.

Make a profile, upload your resume and experiences, and make sure you click “actively applying” as your job search status, so employers know that you want to be considered. Click here for tips on how to make your LinkedIn profile stand out.

Glassdoor is another website that has become popular to help people find jobs that fit their personal situation and preferences. It’s called “Glassdoor” because it enables you to see the perks and drawbacks of working for a company based on the anonymous testimonials of people who currently work there and have worked there in the past. That way, you go into the interview (or your first day!) knowing what you’ve signed up for.

For more information on online tools that can help you in your job search, see here.

The Importance of Being Patient

Although it may be easy to give up after a few months of searching for a job, keep looking for as long as it takes for you to get into the field you studied in, even if it isn’t exactly what you are looking for. If you are actively searching and building up your resume, you will eventually find a job. And that is the importance of being patient.

Being patient might mean biding your time working at a grocery or retail store while you search for a job in your chosen field. Or it might mean doing the grunt work in a lower-paying, assistant-level position and working your way up into a position that you are happy with. Both are normal parts of the job search, so make the most of it while you’re there. Develop new skills, make connections, and be patient while you are working towards your dream career.