Surviving – and Overcoming – Postgraduate Unemployment
I’ve come to realize that every freshly graduated 20-something most likely assumes that upon post-graduation vacation (or in my case, relocation), they will return home to an inbox flooded with job offers. If they’re like me, they may find themselves thinking along the same lines that I did. I was very involved in college, maintained my grades while keeping a job, volunteered on various committees and held two internships before I graduated, so what could go wrong?
Well, after the first two months of postgraduate life, I realized that there was plenty that could go wrong. At first, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I had gone to college and earned a degree in hopes of landing a fantastic job (because that’s what was supposed to happen, right?), and it just wasn’t happening. Sound familiar? Well, take courage, because here I am writing this post to you from my desk at Obsidian Public Relations, letting you in on some steps I took to get me through the discouraging time of postgraduate unemployment.
- Stay positive. Nobody likes a “negative Nancy,” and believe me, it’s much easier to fill out that 15-page job application with an optimistic attitude. Plus, it’s easy for this process to become disappointing, and discouragement often leads to stagnation. This is not the time to not do anything because you’re too down to do it. Keep pushing through!
- Re-do your resume. One of the best things I did was to get several professionals to consult me on my resume. I had things listed that didn’t matter and had neglected to highlight things that did. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Put your networking skills to use, and ask people that know what they’re doing to assist you.
- Don’t limit your job search. If you’re like me, you can’t afford to — literally. I’m sure you decided before you graduated what type of job you wanted to have and the handful of places you’d be “willing” to work, but now’s the time to realize that’s entirely unreasonable. It’s logical that you would find more opportunities by broadening your search, so just do it. You might surprise yourself and really enjoy working at a place that was on your “no” list.
- Don’t search alone. I told anyone and everyone that I was looking for a job and that I was interested in anything they could find. I had family and friends emailing, texting and calling me every time they saw a listing that was remotely related to the communication field. As soon as I thought I had every job search website’s listings memorized, someone would tell me about something I hadn’t seen. In fact, that’s how I found the listing for Obsidian, and look where I am now!
- You’ve got time, so use it. During this time I painted, volunteered for random jobs, worked retail and rode my bike with my fiancé every chance I got to break from all of the time at home. Although you may feel uncomfortable with the amount of free time you have on your hands, instead, take advantage of it. Remember to continue to read and write and use those basic skills you’ll need to have when you do land your first job. Don’t be afraid to wait tables or sell candles and wrapping paper. It’ll teach you patience and help push you in your job search even further.