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We have all seen the headlines. It’s been a common occurrence for a few years now. College students are graduating with little or no job prospects. Questions like the one posed here on a Yahoo! message board are all too common. Articles like this one talk about how over half of the graduates 25 years of age and under are unemployed or underemployed. We get it. The situation out there sucks.
However, at Financial Bin, we rather focus on solutions than problems. Everybody wants to talk about problems. It’s sexy and makes for good evening news. But, where is the story that focuses on a solution? Well, that’s the “throw-in” portion the producer puts at the end of the broadcast to make us all feel good. Well, not here. That’s Financial Bin’s focus.
So, what can you do? You just graduated. You hear all this doom-and-gloom. What are some real, actionable ways you can begin to fix your problem? Look, I’ll be honest with you. It’s going to be tough. You can’t fix your situation over night. But, you can begin to pick yourself up and do something about it rather than just sit around on Mom and Dad’s basement couch all summer.
Solution #1: Learn a new trade.
No. No. No. No. No. I am NOT telling you to go back to school and take on more loans. In fact, that would be a HELL NO! I’m saying learn a new trade. Work for free. Look up how to do something like carpentry or coding. Sure, it may not be something you majored in. That’s fine. What you’re looking to do is broaden your skill set. Learn your way around the toolbox or Google how to code using PHP or Ruby on Rails. It just might open doors you never thought of even knocking on.
Solution #2: Start a business and/or become an entrepreneur.
If you rather focus on working for yourself, great! That’s a mature step you’re taking by identifying an important aspect about yourself. Some of us are better employees than others. It’s quite possible for you that not getting a job right after college is the BEST thing that ever happened to you. Identify a need and solve a problem. That’s the best advice I can give you about starting a business. With Financial Bin, we saw a need for Gen Y to learn about personal finance and entrepreneurship. That’s our main focus – always. We use this website, social media, books (like Entrepreneur Intervention), podcasts, and videos to get our message across.
Maybe you majored in marketing and can’t find a job. Well, why can’t you start a company helping small businesses around you get better acquainted with social media? That’s what these two Gen Y-ers did.
Did you major in art? Well, why not help other artists get their work displayed at a festival – or better yet start your own festival? (What is that too crazy for you to think about or do you think I’m insane for even suggesting it? Too bad – you need to think differently in this market. Crazy even).
Heck, did you mow lawns in high school? Why not calling up your old contacts and getting a few of your unemployed college friends to help out? Put up a ton of ads all over your local area and undercut everybody. It’s not like you have anything better to do and you have to pay those loans soon!
Solution #3: Speak, write, and help others.
A great way to fill your time if you’re unemployed is by writing. Some suggest writing a blog. I would suggest thinking about writing a book. Or better yet – speak about your situation. Go back to your school and talk with students – from freshman to seniors. Talk about your experiences and how it felt to leave college unemployed. Tell people – anybody who will listen – what you’re trying to do. People have made money selling ebooks. Write about yourself and your situation. Talk about the industry you want to pursue and become an authority on it. There are a lot of ways to get yourself noticed. You could even start a Twitter account and post about it there. It all comes down to your drive and how bad you want to better your situation.
It’s difficult out there. I get it. I hope some of these solutions can help you. Even if you take a job like cleaning toilets or waitressing, it’s going to be alright. Figure out a different path to get where you want to be. It may not be what you planned, but you can get there. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on Twitter @DavidDomzalski. I would be happy to talk with any of you and give some more personalized advice.
Thanks for reading Financial Bin.
David T. Domzalski is the founder of Financial Bin.