It's easy for college grads to get caught up in the massive nation-wide problem of no jobs and high student loan debt. Deemed a national crisis, this situation has left many feeling hopeless and even paralyzed because finding a solid job that will pay enough to live while repaying exorbitant debt can feel like climbing a steep mountain. The best you can do at this point is to avoid surfing websites that repeatedly cover this topic and start doing what you can to chip away toward eventual freedom. Constantly listening to or reading how bad things are will only make you feel worse. So, here are three things you can start doing right now that will empower you and even build skills that could be useful to you in your career.
- Be scrappy and focus on what you can control over rather than what you can’t. This might mean working more than one odd job or spending your free time networking and meeting with people who might lead you to a career opportunity. If you think you don’t have a viable network, begin with alumni from your college, older siblings' or your parents’ friends. You will be surprised by how quickly you can build a network, which will become one of your greatest assets.
- Come to terms with what you are willing to give to get what you want. Chances are you're currently living at home with your parents and are not in a financial position to move out. Rather than complaining, think of this time as a means to an end and use it to work as hard as you can at any job, even if flipping burgers or washing dishes. Save as much as you can while still paying off your loan. Time flies when you’re having fun so find joy in this process. Remember, the good news is that you are taking control of your life and from this experience you will walk away with gratification that you’ve paid off your loan, with money in the bank so you can live on your own, and with skills (even if only soft skills) that you can take with you to your next job.
- Do whatever it takes! Take an internship or unpaid job opportunity along side working the odd job or jobs you have now. An internship is a great way to get a foot in the door, even if unpaid. Yes, I know, you’ve spent the last four years working hard in school and you feel that you should be paid for your time. And you should. But It’s important to get experience, so rather than get caught up in the vicious cycle of needing experience to get a job but needing a job to get experience, offering your time for free will allow you an opportunity to show how valuable you are to the organization. Even if that company doesn’t hire you, you will have experience on your resume for other opportunities.