College Connect: Preparing to survive, thrive during post college job search

Posted By Crystal Beasley

By Ninfa Saavedra

The idea of graduating from college and immediately starting a career is not reality, so spending continues for many new college graduates — without a job.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the unemployment rate for recent graduates in 2014 was 3.3%. That’s higher than normal and 16.8% of new graduates are “unemployed” and can’t get jobs, job hunting or working part-time jobs while looking for permanent positions.

More than a fifth of recent graduates are working entry-level positions, in which they are paid $25,000 a year or less, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So, how does a recent college graduate with little to no money prepare for life after college? It isn’t simple and it definitely is not easy. As a May 2015 graduate seeking a journalism job, I am experiencing and I decided to seek answers and get help for the many recent graduates like me and upperclassmen coming behind us who will graduate in the next year or two.

1. Save! Save! Save!

Other than learning in class, being in college is all about budgeting, working with little to no money and it can be hard. But saving is important, and it can make this transition easier. Even if it’s $5 a week, plan to save enough money to survive for a period of time after college. “Have money set aside for out-of-town interviews, and if you get the job you’re going to need money to move,” said Benet Wilson, owner/editor-in-chief of Aviation Queen LLC and a career coach and editor of AllDigitocracy.org. “Though most jobs will negotiate some costs, it will not cover everything… little things in life always pop up, so having rainy day funds are necessary.”

2. Get multiple internships while in college

Having an internship is important for many reasons, including saving money and time. Internships provide the opportunity to work with professionals in your field of study as you get hands-on experience. Those experiences provide confidence, contacts and networking that can cut down on the time between graduation and starting a job. “Most employers are looking for people with real world experiences, so just working for the school newspaper or radio station won’t cut it,” said Wilson.

3. Build a website

Resumes are still important, and these days individual websites are important, too. A website is a cost effective way to showcase professional attributes, experiences and work. According to some professionals, paper resumes are going out of style and more and more companies want to see a job candidate’s portfolio website. Though you get more by paying, there are free websites such as Weebly.com and Wix.com. Domain names cost money, but Wilson said there are perks, including making it easy for employers to find and access.

4. Business Cards

Business cards provide a professional first impression, and they allow a new contact to remember you later – and know how to reach you. After meeting you, a professional contact might forget your name or number but a business card makes it easier. Business cards cost money, but they don’t have to cost a lot. Free is even better. There are several free business card opportunities, including www.vistaprint.com and www.4over4.com. Just be prepared to keep it simple and commit to the guidelines to keep them free.

5. Dress professionally

When you are no longer a student, dressing professionally is a must. Whether doing a Skype informational interview or an on-side job interview, appropriate dress is important – and it does not have to cost a lot of money. If you are willing to invest the time, visit several thrift stores to find the right gently used, stylist and affordable dress clothes you need. Thrift stores have a lot of good deals, often including clothes from the closets of professionals updating their wardrobes.

6. Use social media and a computer

Social media is a great platform for job searching, and it’s FREE. Sheila Fobbs, director of career services at Grambling State University in Louisiana, said the Internet and social media have completely changed how applicants should apply for jobs because a lot of employers require online applications and a lot of good job leads are on social media. Fobbs said all it takes is a little research and good WiFi to access online job boards. “Simply use your fingers and change your resume to match the jobs that you are applying for,” added Fobbs. “Use the language that is on the job description as well so that your resume will be recognized by the computer and sent to the hiring committee. …All of these are free.”

Ninfa Saavedra graduated from Grambling State University in May 2015. A student member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the Fresno, Texas, native is seeking her first fulltime job as she applies the advice included here.

 

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