When I graduated from college, two semesters of searching for employment left me in an alarming state – unemployed with very little savings. Yet I persevered and eventually found a job within three months! By the end of the year, my hard work paid off as I was able to amass approximately $10,000 in savings.

As my husband completes his Ph.D. without a job available, I’m all too familiar with this situation. However, it’s not nearly as intimidating now that we’ve gone through it before. Drawing on our prior experience and resilience, I feel confident we can work together to ensure he finds the right career path for him after graduation so that he winds up exactly where he wants to be.

As you prepare to graduate this spring and are lacking any solid job prospects, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed. Your hard work towards your degree was all for naught? How will you make ends meet without a steady income? And more importantly – what steps should be taken next so that your future is secure? These emotions of frustration, fear, and uncertainty hover above the tangible thoughts of worry.

Don’t fret – there are numerous strategies to get you through your jobless period, and eventually help you secure the permanent full-time employment you desire.

1. Establish a budget for yourself that you plan to stick with.

My husband is very blessed to have me taking care of the bills while he searches for a job! If you are not as fortunate and therefore must cover your own expenses, the initial step should be calculating how much can be allocated per month. Maximize whatever savings you possess until employment has been secured.

To get a better grasp of your monthly budget, first examine what funds you have put away. Sensibly estimate the amount of time that you will be unemployed—to play it safe, set aside six months or an entire year worth of savings. Divide your total accumulation by either six or twelve and voila! You now know how much you can averagely spend every month without dipping into debt!

2. Lower your living costs.

That number might make you shudder, so the following move is to decrease your necessary month-to-month costs as much as possible.

My partner and I are drastically reducing our expenses by moving out of our apartment for the summer and subletting a room from friends. Do you also want to decrease your monthly costs? Here are some other helpful ways:

  • re-joining your parent’s home or moving in with a sibling
  • find a roommate
  • Consider transitioning to a more compact apartment.
  • Look for an economical insurance policy
  • find a pay-as-you-go phone plan
  • Get rid of your car and bike and opt for public transportation
  • Ditch your home internet and switch to the library instead
  • get a long-term housesitting gig in your city

3. Leveraging all of your school’s resources.

Don’t overlook the advantages of your degree. Whether it was a few years ago or just recently, that tuition fee you paid has given you more than just an education – You’ve also earned privileged access to plenty of assistance and benefits from your school! Make sure to take full advantage now.

Take some time to visit your school’s career center and explore the resources they can offer. At a minimum, you’ll be equipped with helpful advice on how to write a compelling cover letter and resume. And if that wasn’t enough, many of these centers also list job fairs in the vicinity or attend networking events so that you are well-connected for future opportunities!

Joining your university’s alumni network and attending the events is an incredible way to form connections! You’ll be amazed by how many people you can get to know just with a plate of finger food. Alumni are usually eager to help recent graduates, so make sure that you take advantage of this opportunity. The more individuals you acquaint yourself with, the higher chance you have of meeting someone who may potentially aid in your journey forward.

4. Create a job-hunting schedule.

Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking job searching is a full-time occupation. If you’ve been on the hunt for months, this could be an easy way to become discouraged and wear yourself out– fast!

Establish a plan that will keep you on track and motivated – no more feelings of hopelessness! This could incorporate:

  • Dedicate two hours each day to searching for job opportunities and attend two networking events per week in order to maximize your chances of success.
  • Dedicate three days a week to job searching and one day to using the results of your search in order to submit applications.
  • To maximize productivity, I have been dedicating some days to searching for work and other days to improving my skillset.

It is essential to create a schedule that will help keep you on track but won’t be so demanding and laborious that it leaves you feeling overwhelmed or defeated.

5. Make the most of your connections.

Don’t limit yourself to just your alumni and professional contacts. Inform the world that you are job hunting, including the field of work in which you seek opportunity! You never know when a relative or acquaintance may have access to someone who can assist you. Clean up any relevant social media accounts like LinkedIn and make sure it’s known that employment is what you’re after. There could be many possibilities on the horizon if people know where to find them!

Keep in mind, you don’t just need to rely on your network; odds are many of the people graduating with you might be searching for employment too. Do someone solid and connect them with people in your network who have the power to propel their careers. Not only is it a kind gesture on your part, but you’ll also be more likely to receive the same kindness in return.

6. Maximize your expertise by searching for part-time or volunteer work in your field.

After receiving his diploma, my husband is launching a conference that he was an integral part of organizing. Although this opportunity doesn’t pay him monetarily, it’s incredibly beneficial to the field he wishes to pursue long-term. To add on top of that, during summertime he will be teaching some classes at a local university!

Although securing a full-time job may be time-consuming, there are countless opportunities to remain active and make some money. Although having any income is better than nothing while unemployed, the real reward goes beyond your wallet; part-timing or volunteering in your industry allows you to sharpen abilities that might have gone rusty during unemployment as well as network with professionals who could help secure future jobs.

Originally featured in GOGIRL Finance, this article is sure to inspire.

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