There’s a myth society has struggled to dispel for many decades that keeps college students optimistic about the reality following graduation: having a degree makes it easier to get a good job.
The truth is, having a college education makes you a more competitive candidate for many jobs in different fields. And it is essential for some jobs, like those in education and healthcare, but it doesn’t make it easier to get a job. That is determined by the market and economy, which constantly fluctuate, and several other factors.
When the job search drags on long after graduation, new graduates can start to feel desperate. There are a few steps you can take as a new graduate that can help you stay positive and focused, and boost your chances of getting a job sooner.
Here are a few reasons to keep your hopes and head up for a favorable job market, and tips to move onward in your job search:
Generally speaking, any time there is low unemployment, the demand for talent is high. This means competition is lower and employers are leaning into candidate expectations to land top talent.
Unemployment rates, of course, are outside your control and potential employers so it’s nearly impossible to prepare for these circumstances on the job search. With that said, the Great Resignation following the 2020 global pandemic has changed the workforce forever.
Work models have shifted to widespread remote and hybrid work options. And more employers than ever are offering flexible work hours and other accommodations. This means your opportunities have increased exponentially.
This is a great time to broaden the scope of your job search and look for jobs with great companies hiring for remote roles. Don’t hesitate to reach out to see if jobs listed as on-location can be remote instead. If you have the skills and experience the company needs, they just might be flexible.
Your degree is valuable, but experience is becoming a priority over education in many industries. Of course, you just graduated and do not have years of experience in the field, but you may have unique experience from your time in college that is prized in the workplace.
Did you lead research at your university? Were you in charge of a sports team or culture club? How about volunteering? Did you make an impact in the community or raise awareness that helped a cause on a bigger scale? Use your experience as a means to widen your job search options and as leverage on your resume and social profiles.
You could be prolonging your job search by narrowing your options too tightly by the description of your college major or degree. If you see a job you would enjoy and could excel in but the requirements list a different degree, don’t rule it out. There’s a chance some of our courses overlap and your experience and skills may fill the gap.
Additionally, if you can show you have the skills from other work or college experience, your degree can be a bonus to help you stand out from the competition rather than a qualifier for the job. Apply based on your transferable skills from previous jobs or college courses and activities.
Having a resume littered with short-term work experiences used to be a glaring red flag to recruiters and employers. That perception has shifted from being a turnover risk to showing ambition and a desire to grow in your career for many employers.
You should make sure your jobs are relevant to your career path and show advancement to prove you’re working toward your long-term career goals. But don’t be afraid to take a job outside your ideal job role if the skills and experience could help you land your dream job.
It’s easy to get discouraged when you work hard to earn a degree and feel helpless in the job search following graduation. But knowing how to play your cards and recognizing opportunities in all the forms they can present themselves will help you hold fast hope and move forward with your job search.