College Senior & No Job Offer? Don’t Panic!
No job offer? Are you kidding me? You’ve worked your butt off for the last four to six years, have a stellar academic record, and now it’s April and you have no job offer. It’s a story that many people have played the starring role in since the Great Recession, but that’s not at all consoling. It’s time to step back, take a deep breath, and re-assess the situation.
Of course it’s unsettling to have committed so much and have things not working out according to your plans and desires. Don’t fight the feelings, because they are real. Acknowledge them, and then set them on the shelf for the moment. Take a good look at your life in the bigger picture. As is so often the case in life, when things are viewed as a small part of a bigger chunk of your allotted years on the planet, the intensity of the moment diminishes. “This, too, shall pass” are words to remember, knowing that in a relatively short time your life WILL be very different.
Look at The Alternatives
If you haven’t learned it by now, it’s always a good idea to have a “plan B.” If you didn’t have one in the current situation, then it’s really important to look at the alternatives. Even in the worst of cases, there are always options. The anxiety and fear and even panic are rooted in our natural instinct to survive. I remember a lesson from a college professor that has stuck with me: “If you were dropped, naked, in the middle of China, you would survive.” With that perspective, every option is a step up!
So what are the alternatives? What can you do right now to shift the stuck feelings you’re having? Here’s a few.
Pursuing out-of-the-box employment opportunities
Carolyn Thompson , author of RESUMAZING and Managing Principal of the Merito Group , says “Don’t overlook the small companies in your area. You can get a lot of great experience at a smaller company that will propel you into a larger corporation later on, if you choose. Job descriptions at big companies are more narrow, while a smaller company often enables you to do more within a role, giving you a wider variety of work and responsibilities. Smaller companies are also less competitive and more collaborative in nature, so consider if you want to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond. It’s your choice.”
Side Hustle: Creating your own job
Those hobbies, innate skills, and passions you have? At least some of them have the potential to become the next big thing. Sure, at this point it might mean rooming with someone, or moving back home to your parents. But how many huge companies can you name that started in the garage on a shoestring?
Patrick McGinnis has authored The 10% Entrepreneur, in which he gives a detailed step-by-step plan that takes you from identifying your first entrepreneurial project to assembling all the pieces on the way to creating a successful business venture. The key is diving in and getting started, no matter how small that first step might be.
It’s the package that sells the product. Your product is YOU. Do a thorough self-evaluation to identify your skills, talents, education, and experience (both life and professional). Brainstorm on how you can change the way you present yourself to make yourself marketable to different target employers.
Gig.com says “So how do people successfully reinvent or repackage themselves? While there’s no single way to do it, there are some things to keep in mind. At the outset of your job search develop a plan to market yourself. Get a focus on your new objective and choose the industry you wish to target. Reinvention won’t work without a cohesive and clear plan. If you don’t have one you’ll be giving off mixed messages and splitting your search time among too many options.”
No job offer isn’t the end.
Whichever path you choose, remember to keep a clear vision in mind of what your goal actually is. Remind yourself regularly and use that as the motivation to keep moving forward. And remember to appreciate yourself for even the small successes and accomplishments. Having no job offer isn’t the end of the world – – it’s the beginning of a different version of you.
Main image credit: Stephen Rees
Secondary image credit: Kawabata