Having graduated during the recession of the early 1990s, I can empathise with many of today’s grads who are struggling to find work.
And I seem to be getting lots of emails these days from out of work graduates seeking advice. So I thought I’d share an email I sent to a graduate earlier today. Much of the advice applies to anyone currently looking for work – not just graduates.
Given that it’s now 4 months since you graduated and the market for graduate jobs is still tough, here are 6 quick suggestions:
1. Short Term: Find any job and start earning
Lose the pride and find anything which starts bringing in some cash and gets you working.
Be it part time work /freelancing / a temporary contract / helping a family or friend’s business – regardless of whether it relates to your degree or not.
In addition to feeling calmer, you will buy yourself some time to transition into your target role over the mid-term. Plus it ensures your family are less stressed about you (..which in turn stops you stressing too).
2. Double your activity levels
Spending 90 minutes a day on your laptop trawling through websites and emailing recruiters is not enough.
You need to be spending at least 20 hours a week job searching. And I don’t mean just sitting in front of computer – you need to get out and meet people.
3. Get out more
You should be out at least one day a week meeting 2 to 3 people.
Meeting warm contacts who can help find short term work or help you explore and learn about the career options you eventually want to transition into is far more productive than sitting on the internet like everyone else.
Plus getting out and meeting people also stops you getting depressed and losing your confidence sitting at home.
4. Location: stop over-thinking
Don’t avoid applying for roles in another city because you’re unsure about the accommodation issue. I know it doesn’t sound logical, but find a job first and figure out where you’ll live later.
If you find a role in city X, I’m sure you’ll find friends of friends or family who can help you out in the short term with accommodation. But you can cross that bridge when you come to it. For now, focus on finding the roles regardless of where they are.
(In fact there’s every chance you won’t get that role in the other city – but don’t deny yourself the opportunity to improve your interview skills by not applying).
5. Ensure you’re using LinkedIn.com
If you’re not using LinkedIn, there’s every chance you’re missing opportunities as the vast majority of corporate employers and recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates nowadays. Plus you’re missing the chance to strengthen your online brand should recruiters and future employers Google your name (..which, by the way, they probably will).
(Talking of your online brand, ensure your Facebook pages doesn’t include anything you would be ashamed of if a future employer saw it).
6. Don’t stress
I know, easier said than done. But things will work out in time (really).
You may just take a different route than the one your friends take to get to where you want to get to. But in doing so, you’ll have different experiences, different skills and will become much more resilient as you’ve had to deal with a tough job market at a young age. So hang in there.
Best of luck!