With tuition increases dominating the local news, you'd think that today's college student would be more concerned about PAYING for school rather than getting paid once they graduate. But interestingly enough, loans have suddenly taken a backseat to starting a career once today's twenty-somethings put their college years behind them.
In a recent UniversityChic.com survey of almost 600 college students nationwide, fifty-one percent indicated that finding a job after college was their biggest financial concern. Only 26.9% listed paying off school loans as a priority, while another 24.7% saw tuition increases as their most pressing financial issue.
So how can a recent grad get ahead while mired in a bad recession? Don't wait for someone to see your value - think outside the box and harness your own skills and talent. Currently the number of college-age entrepreneurs is on the rise, so much so, there's even a book dedicated to the topic.
Non-traditional contract work is also becoming more popular. Cruise your local Craigslist and you'll find any number of listings requesting freelancers, telecommuters, and work in trade. While these types of positions may not support your dreams of breaking free of your parents' basement anytime soon, they will add depth to your resume and increase your chances of getting noticed by recruiters.
1. Look for service gaps in your community and brainstorm ways you can fill those holes with specialized goods and services that may not be readily available in your area.
2. Research costs involved in starting your own business. It could be cheaper to work as a consultant or freelancer than actually taking on the challenge of running something yourself.
3. Come up with a business plan and approach your friends and family about investing in it. One-hundred dollars can go a long way if twenty people make a contribution.
4. Reach out to other small businesses both locally and online so you develop a successful referral network.
5. Create basic business cards (you can order a lot of 500 for only $30 at Staples.com) with your name, address, phone number, email, and professional skills cited.
While you might not be able to find a full-time job right away, you can make the most of what you've learned in college and turn a real-world profit while you're waiting for your big break.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more