THE BLOG

Still No Job After Graduation -- Now What?

05/30/2012 07:10 pm ET | Updated Jul 30, 2012

If you've left your college campus but still don't have a job, consider these strategies to get you in the door of your new career. You won't be able to do it alone -- nobody does. You will have to start risking engaging with others to help you find leads to a job.

To start, ask your professors who still have a fresh memory of you and your work for advice and ideas. Follow up even if you are not sure. Write letters of appreciation to speakers and authors you've heard over the past year or so and ask to talk to them briefly about their experiences. Express your interest in their work and ask for advice. Go back to your career center's website and show up in their office, which is open year round. Your college can also provide you with lists of alumni. Look for those who graduated and are now working in professions you are interested in and contact them, asking for a brief interview and advice. Start your conversation with a question about what they enjoyed in your alma mater, creating a bond and adding a human touch.

If there is a particular job you're after, but one not open to you now, ask for an internship (paid or unpaid) and get assigned to a current project, an unfinished task, or one that is on the backburner. If you can land it, do much more than your best job. Think of what else you can offer to further the relationship and your skills. Don't be put off by menial tasks. Your job is to pitch in, look for opportunity, and learn to build relationships while you're there. These will be new activities that you've never had to do before.

Before reaching out to these contacts, remember to rehearse a short introduction about who you are, what your best subjects have been, what your talents are, and several of your interests. Once you've made a connection, don't forget to express your sincere gratitude. This is the time to sell yourself with confidence. The only way to develop confidence is through practice. If you are starting to feel discouraged, use these tips to get yourself back in the game.

1. Reframe your attitude of "ain't it awful?" and make this a treasure hunt.
2. Don't feel dejected if you're rejected or you don't hear back.
3. Keep persisting and contact them as many times as it takes to land an interview -- all you need is one job.
4. If they respond but say they can't help, ask them what they would do if they were in your shoes, and if they know whom else you might talk to. Don't walk away with just a "no," empty handed.
5. Volunteer for your political party's campaign and stay connected with them even after you get a job. If politics isn't for you, then choose the arts, sports, or any other profession where you might be able to start as a volunteer.
6. Don't stay home alone isolating yourself. You will need all the connections possible. This is not a one-time art -- you will always need connections. You will have to jump out of your comfort zone to develop these relationships now.
7. All life is about taking risks. Risk-taking is a skill that you develop more deeply each time, learning to depend on yourself to be able to make something happen.

Make your luck happen!