I Graduated! Now What?

At long last, the moment I had been counting down throughout my college career was finally here. No more homework, how to keep in touch with my friends, and getting home safely the next day were just a few of the thoughts that swirled in my brain prior to the graduation ceremony. Two months and a summer class later, I began to think about at last getting a job. I thought, “I’ve got a degree and two certificates. Finding a job will be no problem.” Five months later and still jobless, I often ask myself, “Now what?” 

The myth that a student that attends college will have a job right after graduating is not true. Many students do not have any job when they graduate. You may not be able to get your dream job right away. Your degree makes it easier for you to get a job. According to Forbes.com, “With a college degree, your average earnings are higher, and the probability of being unemployed or underemployed is pretty low.” . What the previous quote does not address is major. It is “estimated that just 27 percent of college grads had a job that was closely related to their major” according to an article from the Washington Post . 

I was asked by a high school senior back in May who was headed to college, “Do you have any advice?” 

The question got me wondering if I could have done something while in college to have a better chance of getting a job. What do I wish that I had known? 

The first thought that crossed my mind was getting an internship early. One of the problems that I am running into is my “lack of experience”. When I tell my friends about it, they always say “How are you supposed to get the experience if they won’t hire you?”. Many students have the experience, but not with actual companies. By having an internship early, you will have to time to explore and learn the skills needed for your prospective job. 

Keep up with your resume and keep it handy. You never know when you might need it. Cards with your contact information are a good thing to keep on hand as well. 

Keep a list of your faults as well as your skills. It sounds weird, but employers want to know this information. I learned a lot about myself while attending college and I am trying to do better to minimize my faults. 

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your box. Learning is a part of our everyday lives and it will not stop anytime soon. Mix it up every once in a while. 

Breaks are good for you, but don’t forget about the project. Burnout is a very real thing. I “hit the wall” about two weeks before graduation and had to fight very hard to keep going. When I got home two days after graduation, I felt like someone hit me with a sack of bricks. However, the job search has always been in the back of my head and I have been talking with industry professionals at the some of the events around my hometown. 

The last piece of advice I will offer is ask your professors and advisors what you can be doing. I would not have graduated with any certificates had my advisor not said something.