Finding a Career After College

Posted by on in Life Transitions

Preparing to graduate from college can be an extremely stressful time of your life. With senior projects, presentations, and examinations looming over your head, you might not have had the opportunity to really think about your future career very much. You may not have had the chance to seriously consider what you want to do next in life, with adulthood quickly approaching. However, finding a career after college doesn’t have to be so stressful.

For some recent and upcoming graduates, your career is often ultimately determined by what you have studied while in school. If you majored in something highly specialized or unusual or uncommon, you are probably well prepared for a career in that particular field. However, many students graduate college with a degree that will allow them to easily transition into a number of different jobs. Below, you will find useful tips to help you find your career after college.

Location. Location. Location.

If you are not tied geographically to your current location, you might want to think about looking for a career in a new city. For some graduates, moving to a new location makes more sense because the job market may be better. With the current state of the economy and job market, many graduates are having trouble with unemployment after college. Do some research to determine where you would find a job best suited to you and your skills and experience. Here are some helpful ways to decide if and where you should move.

The Job Market: The job market impacts your decision to move in two different ways. The first impact is at your current location. If you have already begun the process of searching for a job or know that your current location does not provide the career path you want in life, then you should definitely consider moving to a new location. The second impact of the job market on your location has to do with your new home. Consider the cost of living of any new location. Will a job there enable you to support yourself in that town or city? Do this research, and start applying for jobs before you actually move from your current location.

New City or Environment: Another reason for you to move is if you just want to live in a new city or environment for a while. Maybe you have been living in the same city your whole life, or maybe you just want to move farther away from home for a while. No matter what your reasoning, the transitional period after college is a great time to pack up your belongings and move to a new city.

Dream Home: Perhaps you have always dreamed of living in a certain city or community. The period after graduating offers you a unique chance to make that move to that dream city or country abroad. However, again, before you make that decision to pack up your bags, you should do some research and determine what the job market is like in that city. It would be unfortunate for you to move there and then realize that there are no career options you would enjoy.

Deciding What You Want to Do

As a recent graduate or upcoming graduate, you must face the difficult challenge of deciding what you actually want to do with your life. Choosing a career can be an extremely intimidating thing. After all, who knows at the age of 21 what they want to do for the rest of their lives? Many cannot answer that question, and that’s OK. The good news is that most college degrees prepare you for a variety of careers, which means, with some experience, you can change jobs down the road. For the time being, it will be enough to identify a few career paths and industries that interest you and for which you are qualified. In order to help you with that, here are some tips on how to find a career after college.

Let your degree guide your career: As stated earlier, many graduates will have degrees that help train them for specific career fields. However, there are students who have studied certain subjects that do not necessarily set them up for specific careers. When you entered college you might have been excited about that, but you may be slightly frustrated knowing that your degree is not career specific. For example, those who study English and literature may not know what career paths are available, but they can actually go into fields such as marketing, professional writing and editing, and possibly journalism, along with the more traditional field of teaching.

Allow your interests to guide your career: For other students, your degree may have been extremely interesting to you, but you have other interests that you would rather pursue. For example, if you enjoy traveling, then perhaps you will be able to find a career in travel journalism, food writing, hotel rating, or teaching abroad. And, even if you do not think it now, you will usually discover some way to connect your degree to your interests. The possibilities really are endless, so long as you are willing to be creative.

Gain valuable experiences before you make your decision: If you find yourself nearing graduation, or you have already graduated and still have no idea what you want to do, you do not need to panic. Instead of allowing yourself to become overwhelmed, consider gaining valuable experience that will not only help you decide what you want to do for a career, but will actually help you further down the road in that career. These types of experiences can come in the form of entry-level jobs, internships, or experiences like traveling. There is nothing wrong with taking a little more time to decide what line of work you would like to enter. After all, that is a big decision to make.

Deciding on the Right Job

After deciding on a career path and what jobs you are going to pursue, you need to identify particular positions that you could hold. Within any career or industry there are many different kinds of jobs. You need to locate specific companies or jobs for which you are qualified and would enjoy and then apply for those positions. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you job-hunt.

Are you qualified? Before you apply for any job at any time, you need to ask yourself, “Am I qualified for this position?” If you answer yes, then by all means go ahead and apply for the job. However, if you answer no, then you need to make sure you really want the position because there is a good chance that you will end up wasting your time writing a cover letter and sending out your resume.

Will you enjoy it? Something else you want to make sure of when applying for a job is whether or not you will actually enjoy the position. Does the company promote the type of environment you like to work in? Is the position going to challenge you? Does the work actually hold any interest for you? Finding fulfillment in your career is a difficult thing to achieve, but a job that makes you happy will make you more productive and committed to the company.

Does it pay what you need? It may seem greedy, but, in reality, you have a cost of living that you need to meet with your salary. Make sure that as you are searching for jobs and applying to those jobs that they provide you with enough money to live and to save.

Are there any benefits? We are not talking about casual dress Fridays or doughnut Mondays. Instead, you need to find out if the company is offering medical insurance, paid vacation and sick days, 401k plans, and other related benefits. As a recent graduate, these types of benefits may not seem all that important, but in reality they are extremely important and will become increasingly important as you get older and as you advance in your career.

Finding the right career after graduating from college does not need to be a difficult process. In fact, when you take your time and consider all of the possibilities, you will find that deciding on your career path is far less difficult than you thought. When you find yourself saying, “I can’t find a job after college,” you just need to take a deep breath and consider your options. Do not forget that there are plenty of jobs out there; you just need to go look for them. To help cope with unemployment after college, consider moving to a location that is actually employing recent college graduates and has a steady or growing job market.


  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • rss