Three Steps to Follow if You are Graduating College Without a Job

By Patrick Hyde

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May marks a bittersweet time for college seniors. It is the end of an adventure, a time to say farewell to old friends and make plans for new beginnings.

But to the many seniors who don’t have a steady job lined up after graduation, the bitter far outweighs the sweet.

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If you find yourself as a new college grad without a job, or even without an idea of what kind of job you want, there are a few concentrated steps you can take to ease your panic and find your way in the job market.

Research Popular Career Choices for Your Major

Some college seniors know exactly what career they want to pursue. They know the companies that are hiring in their field and the skills they need to have on their resume. If they haven’t been hired by graduation, then persistence is the key.

But many college students have no idea what to do with their degree, or even what they can do with their degree. Liberal arts and soft science majors often don’t have a clear-cut path to a profession, so it is easy to get lost along the way.

If you are in that boat, you should do some research on what other jobs people with your degree have gone on to pursue. Scour forums, social media, and job boards for inspiration and keep a list with all of the titles and companies you come across. Free tools like Career Finder give you a jumpstart by providing data on the most popular and highest paying jobs for a wide range degrees.

Once you’ve assembled a list of careers that have captured your interest, learn what each of those jobs entail and start applying to the ones that sound like a good fit.

Hone the Skills to Get the Job

College courses don’t always bestow you with the applicable skills you need to be competitive in today’s job market. Your college professor would be the first to admit that most learning takes place outside of the classroom.

Luckily in 2017 it is easier, and cheaper, to learn new skills than ever before.

So if time and time again you find yourself staring at a job posting and thinking, “I would be a perfect fit for this job, too bad I don’t know HTML,” then, well, it is time to learn HTML (or Photoshop, or Excel, or…).

Online education marketplaces like Udemy, Coursera, and even YouTube offer video instructions by top industry pros on the most in-demand skills. These courses are often very inexpensive and provide you with actionable skills that you can proudly add to your resume.

So if you feel like the job hunt has you running in circles without making any progress, shift gears to learning a new skill. It will feel great to do something productive, and you will increase your chances of landing a job. In the meantime, you might even be able to use your newly acquired talents as a freelancer for some real world experience and resume material.

Brand Yourself for the Job You Want

Recruiters are divided on the efficacy of a visual resume. It can be an innovative approach or a tired cliché, depending on who you ask.

But what if there was a way to please both sides?  Appease the traditionalists and dazzle the new-school.

There is: the personal website.

Here’s how you execute. You write a traditional resume emphasizing your relevant skills, experience, and education (and customize it for every application, of course).

Then, include a hyperlink to your personal website along with your contact information. You can call it your portfolio, your webpage, whatever. Since all applications are done online these days, it will appear as a clickable link. And people love clicking things.

The recruiters who don’t care for that kind of thing will just ignore it; they already have all the necessary information right there on your resume. But the rest can go ahead and see a much more personalized presentation of yourself.

Building a website is easy. If you’ve ever listened to a podcast, you’ll know that companies like Squarespace and Wix have no-coding-required modules that help you make an attractive page in a few hours.

This is where you can customize to give a little more personalization and visual flair, to go in-depth about the things that make you unique and hireable that just don’t fit on a 1 page pdf.

But, everything that you add should be geared toward the career you are going for. Put yourself in the shoes of a marketer trying to win over a very specific demographic.



So to summarize: graduation is here. Try and enjoy your major accomplishment. If you don’t have a job lined up, really try out these steps to see if they can make a difference.


About the Author: Patrick Hyde is a marketing manager for JobComet, a job board with quality job postings from over 13,000 companies.

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