51 percent of recent graduates, or 1.5 million, were either unemployed or underemployed in 2013. Surely, the last couple of years hasn’t improved that statistic much, if at all. Gone are the days when a college degree was a gateway to a good paying job. There are only so many jobs to go around and nearly everyone has a college degree these days.
If you’re in the category of unemployed college graduates, a little resourcefulness can build skills to make you more desirable to an employer. Instead of filling your free time playing the same video games and going to the same concert halls, bide your time with some of these activities.
Pay Back Loans Without Money
Worse than being unemployed after graduation is being unemployed and massively in debt. A large student loan bill awaits a healthy portion of graduates. Not all hope is lost, however. It is quite possible to actually pay back loans without money. Okay, well, maybe not exactly.
During periods of unemployment, student loans go into a period of deferment. That’s like buying time for a borrower. Using that free time, learn the economics of student loan payback. Not only will it give you the tips to get the loan paid off as soon as possible, it’ll make you more shrewd of a thinker economically speaking.
Clean the Apartment
If you lived in a dorm room, or have yet to move out of your first apartment, consider another fact of finances. You’ll be lucky if you get that deposit back. Landlords have been known to be quite stingy about returning deposits. For a lesson in resourcefulness, try saving that money you aren’t making by making your own cleaning agents. It’s possible to make your own cleaners with stuff just laying around. This also puts that progressive thinking, concern for the environment and sustainable practices espoused in college to use. For a little more time investment, try deep green cleaning the carpets. After all, the carpet is going to be the number one area that the landlord is going to inspect first when determining the return of the deposit.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
In a perfect world, a person could take a trip to a place they’d never been able to even imagine before and get a fresh perspective as well as some skills in dealing with a totally foreign environment. If you’re desperate in your job search, that is not likely to be possible. What is possible is virtual travel and study. Keep your mind fresh by exploring new topics on TED Talks, take part in webinars, attend conferences, outreach alumni groups and others in the fields you want to enter. It’s all about being on point and keeping communications flowing.
While looking for work, much help is already available on resume and job searching skills, including the local unemployment office. What is harder to get help on is interviewing skills. The answers to interview questions are important, but what may be more important is non-verbal communication. Unless you studied communications in school, you may not be conscious of your gestures and the difference between your words and the interviewer’s impressions can be stark. In these days of people getting lost in communication devices, interpersonal skills are lacking in many people.
Volunteering is the best job a person can have for a multitude of reasons, the beginning of which are the skills and contacts built. Whether getting paid or not, it is smart to keep fresh by applying skills in a daily work like setting. More importantly, skills can be expanded to more diverse realms.
Volunteer jobs also have a tendency to make the use of minimal staffing, so the workload is often higher than in a paid job. It really impresses an employer when you show a willingness to go the extra mile, or to do tasks outside of your comfort zone, or maybe already having a “job” perhaps even with an acquaintance of theirs.
Stay Organized in the Job Search
You needed to learn organization to succeed in college, so let it be your gateway to success post college. According to this article from a recent grad, mess causes stress and prohibits you from keeping focus, thinking critically, and being creative. A cluttered mindset is not the way to approach finding work. Job searching in the twenty-first century is arduous and takes practice and endurance to find the right fit. By having an organized plan and keeping notes on your progress, you will up the chances of finding a better job faster.
There are decent jobs boards that aren’t just bots looking for keywords on your resume. Try using Muse, Angellist and LinkedIn for relevant search results and better chances your resume will be seen by human eyes. Try Taskrabbit for more temporary, easy money type jobs. I generally advise against temp work, but some people have found this to be a good path to employment.
Start A Business
Finally, if you can’t get a job, create one. Some of the most financially viable businesses in America today were started in dorm rooms, garages and buses. Unemployed people do have an important advantage to making it big, time! Instead of being exhausted by the daily rat race or the rigors of school life, there is a private space, quiet time and an open schedule to help sow the seeds of the next Forbes big business. And, hey, if your idea never gets off the ground, at least you have learned a lot about what it takes to run a business.
Life, like work, takes some ingenuity and resourcefulness. Whatever happens, don’t feel desperate enough to take a job at some fast food place with a bunch of high schoolers. Those jobs are just as hard to get with all the competition. Besides, you have earned more than that.
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