No Job Yet? Do This

Starting to panic because you have finished college or your training program, but you don’t have a job yet? As time passes, you’re likely to start feeling like everybody else has already been hired, so it’s natural for worry to set in. What should you do? What should you not do?

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(Photo Credit: David Blackwell/Flickr)

Understand Your Constraints

Get a handle on your budget. If you are living on your own, understand how long you have before your funds run out. If you are living with your parents, speak to them frankly about how long you think it might take for you to get a job and to be able to afford to move out (note that those are different things). Estimate how much the start-up costs of living on your own might be: “I will need at least $X saved before I can afford an apartment on my own / with roommates.” Understand your healthcare coverage, and make plans to get coverage if you will age out of your parents’ coverage umbrella.

Stay Prepared

Keep your resume and LinkedIn up to date, and have a set of appropriate interviewing clothes clean and ready to go. Make sure you have transportation to an interview or the means to pay for it within your geographical search area. Prepare a response for when people ask you “How’s the job search going?” Don’t be flip (“Whatever; I am not worried”) or annoyed (“You’d think with who’s getting hired that I’d get hired, too”). The person asking may have a lead for you, but may not want to share it if you don’t seem polite or professional.

Get Any Job

Employers like hiring employed people, and they like hiring people who care about working. If you haven’t landed your dream job, get almost any paid or volunteer job: the home improvement store, the animal shelter, the garden store, a local restaurant. Temp work is an excellent want to learn about a job, a boss, and a company, and temp-to-hire happens frequently. You can craft an explanation of why you took a job apparently below the level of your training that will reflect well on you: “I don’t want to be idle, and this way I am learning [a skill].”

Act Like Someone an Employer Would Want to Hire

When you get rejected for a job – and we all do, a lot – consider asking the person who rejects you whether there are skills or training that would have made a difference in the hiring decision. Make it clear you understand that learning is not over, and consider whether you can acquire the recommended skill or training. Also ask whether there is anyone whom you recommend I speak to about this field. Do not ask “who do you know who can give me a job?”

The Golden Rule Really Is Golden

Treat everyone well, and as if they are someone who might give you a job, or a connection to a job, or who might recommend you for a job. When it’s your turn, give leads and tips and introductions to people who ask, if you can.

Good luck!

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