Lauren Bailey is a freelance blogger who loves writing about education, new technology, lifestyle and health. As an education writer, she works to research and provide information for those comparing the best online colleges and courses. You can contact her via email.
By Lauren Bailey
It’s no secret, college graduates have it pretty tough today. In many ways, it’s been discussed to the point of almost becoming cliché, but there are some real struggles in place for recent grads. With a seriously downtrodden economy, steady unemployment, a harshly competitive job market, and student debt higher than ever before, there’s good reason for concern. Recent college graduates are entering the “real world” and encountering a very hard time finding jobs for the most part. While at one time college graduates believed that obtaining that golden diploma was a guaranteed ticket to professional success and financial stability, today that simply isn’t the case and isn’t really believed to be the case. More and more often college graduates are facing long periods of unemployment without any real know how for dealing with it.
After spending close to a year after graduation either unemployed or pretty severely underemployed, I have found many positive ways to spend that time. In today’s job market, it’s all about selling your traits, skills, and experience in the right way. Use these few tips to help spruce up your unemployment and create a more marketable resume.
Unfortunately, in many cases today, paid internships have become almost as competitive as salaried positions. More and more young professionals are recognizing the potential internships have to offer. That being said, paid internships are not the end of the line. Unpaid internships can be a wonderful way to create a stronger portfolio as well. During your unemployment, along with your search for paid internships and paid positions, don’t rule out unpaid internships if the right one comes along. Interning at the right company, in the right field, or with the right people can make all the difference. Employers today are looking for candidates with “real world” professional experience and interning is one way to gain that as a newbie grad. Interning is a wonderful way to learn the professional aspects of the industry you’re really interested in, to meet influential people within your field of interest, and to hone in on the areas of the professional world you are really passionate about. Though unpaid is never the most enticing of lures, there’s a lot to gain from the right position.
Volunteering can also be an amazing way to gain professional experience and network within your field of interest. Unemployment can be a difficult thing to sell on a resume. By finding volunteer opportunities in the area of industry that you are truly interested in pursuing as a career, you can gain valuable experience. Try to find volunteer opportunities that directly pertain to the area of industry you are seeking work in. This can be a wonderful way to network with people in the field and build relationships with influential industry leaders. While volunteering is certainly about gaining that experience, it is almost more so about building your professional network. Networking has become one of the number one most important aspects of an individual’s job hunt. Many times, finding the position you are truly interested in and getting your foot in the door comes down to the people you know.
3. Continuing Education
Educating yourself further during your unemployment can be a great solution for both sprucing up your resume and sprucing up your day-to-day life. One of the hardest aspects of unemployment is finding ways to occupy your time in a positive and worthwhile manner. Education can be a great solution. Now, I’m not suggesting that you run off to graduate school and incur more student debt. Rather, look into options like open courseware for free online or professional certifications. Open courseware opportunities are available through some of the most renowned and celebrated universities in the country. Find some courses you can take that can add to your resume and help with your job hunt. Taking profession specific courses is one worthwhile option, but you can also consider skill-based classes that might be useful in the working world. Things like math classes, computer programming, and statistics can be useful in a number of different professions and can help put you a mark above other job candidates.
What is your advice for recent grads who are looking to spruce up their unemployment period? Leave your tips below.