Crushed by Career Competition? Alternatives for Recent Grads

It’s been two years since I’ve earned a bachelors degree in Sociology, and I still don’t have a “career.” During undergrad, I did everything right. I made it my business to check in with the campus career center, had a 3.7 GPA, and a good relationship with my professors. Where did I go wrong?

Five months of consistent résumé re-writing and confessing my greatest strength or weakness lead to no legitimate opportunities. Searching for a long term career was draining and discouraging, and I refused to be an educated waitress with no plan of upward movement. So I changed my approach and decided to focus on what I could do now.

As recent graduate I asked myself “what do I really have that makes me stand out in a pool of resumes?” Instead of spending 20 hours a week trying to impress some hypothetical employer, I decided to take an entrepreneurial approach at my newly learned skills, with no intention of income. Here’s what I found to be successful:

  1. Freelance. If you’ve got the skills and passion, put it to use. Hone them & network. Pay might be horrible or non-existent, but start somewhere. You’re a rookie, if on the other side would you pay you top dollar to perform this recently learned skill? Probably not, so prove your worth and work up to it.
  2. Start blogging. In SO many positions today, writing well is a necessity. Having a website to list is literally a digital portfolio of your professional insights, and how you relate to the world. 
  3. Intern. Three out of five of my friends who interned at a reputable company have awesome positions in the field of their choice. As one of the three who now hires interns told me, “your major and GPA are irrelevant. We want to see that you have experience.
  4. Teach abroad. A few searches on google will present you with endless agencies that don’t require any degrees to travel and teach English. Talk about adding experience to your resume- learning another language, adapting to foreign culture, and teaching experience. Not to mention it’s an ideal way to make great connections and meet amazing mentors. 
  5. Network, network, network! I started following professionals in fields I’m interested in, participating in twitter chats to gain inspiration and insight, and reaching out to authors and bloggers I admired. Genuine interest is more appealing to people than being asked for something. 

As my successful three-out-of- five friend told me, employers barely even look at your college credentials. Before investing in another systemized education, get some experience. Not getting a career right away might just be a blessing in disguise. With that free time is an opportunity to see what you really like and dislike. There is a path out there, it’s just about finding the right one. 

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