Job Search Advice for Recent Grads

Graduating college is for many people the milestone that marks the beginning of true adulthood. School over, there aren't any alternatives left but to join the workforce and start trying to make it on your own. Going back to live with parents isn't an appealing route for most, so it's a sink-or-swim kind of situation.

But for full time students who didn't work full-time through school (which is the majority of students) the transition into "adult" life is much more difficult than they anticipated, and they often find that having an undergraduate degree doesn't help in their job search as much as they were probably led to believe it would.

Sometimes students looking for a job make desperate moves just to keep their heads above water, and then are unable to continue on the path to their dream job after. For all the recent graduates out there just starting on the first job search of many, here are a few pieces of advice:

    • Look before you leap. A pretty common move college grads make is often a literal one: they move to another city with a significant other who has a job. There isn't anything fundamentally wrong about doing this, but students should always think deeply and ask a lot of questions before committing to such a move. One of the most important questions to ask is "how will the bills get paid?" It might seem unnecessary to point this out, but many students just up and move into a completely foreign environment just to be with someone they may or may not be with in a year. Have a serious talk with your significant other about money, and expectations — the last thing you want is to be out on the street in a city without any friends, support, or way home. It's also important to set out goals, such as "I will have a job in three months," just to have something to work toward.
    • Work for free (if you can afford it). While the best time to work as an unpaid intern is while during school, internships can give you very valuable experience in your field that will make it easier to find a job later. Taking an unpaid internship also opens doors that might not have been opened otherwise, namely with networking opportunities that will be a great help in the future. Remember that long-term benefits generally beat out short-term ones, so think about what would be best for your career in the long-run. Make sure to really network and work hard while in the internship to get the most out of the experience.
    • Of course, not everyone can work for free. Many students feel forced into going back to school because their job opportunities are so scant. School is certainly a safe environment, and it is true that a bachelors degree is not as impressive as it used to be, but graduate school is a very expensive decision to make. If you find that you're having a lot of trouble finding any work, talk to professors and mentors from your field at school to get information and specific career advice. People like this will be able to guide you through certain decisions and will also be able to give you a clearer picture of what certain careers actually look like. Be willing to call professionals from your industry, too, and offer to take them out to lunch, just to get more information.
Even if you end up somewhere that isn't directly related to your ideal job, talking to people, working, and getting connected are always important things that will help you land the job you really want down the line.

About the Author:

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to

Photo: winnond /

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