What to do when being an unemployed recent grad?

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This is a cloud tag based on rejection letters I received in previous months. Generated by jasondavies.com

Time had changed, in the US, having a bachelor degree from a prestigious university does not equal of going to have a secure job after graduating. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the recent grad unemployment rate is 7.2%. It  can be worse if there are student loans waiting to be paid because as soon as after graduation, it is time to start paying debt. We can blame on the job market, government policies, the companies/capitalists, or even globalization shipping jobs overboard… you name it! But blaming them can’t alternate the fact that it is difficult to find a good career or even a job that we were expecting in college.

Personal story:

After my graduation in May 2015 from NYU, I continued working in the startup I was working at since Feburary 2014 to the end of September 2015. The reason why I quitted is it shifted from game development to AI development and I know very little about AI and too late to learn. AI development is very heavily based on programming and I have very little knowledge and experience in programming. Then, I took a three-week vacation to China and came back to look for new jobs. As a B- student, the job hunting process was long and hard (no dirty joke here). I went back to my school’s career center to fix my resume and cover letter, submitted them to companies, then received some of their replies with phone, Skype and face to face interviews… but no full-time position.

And finally, I started this blog in January 2016 and got into a 9-week internship with GameSkinny by March 2016. Even it is not too prestigious journalism website, this internship was quite competitive too. I knew there were people who applied but not qualified for it. I believe the reason why I can get are the experience in game development and this blog. In addition, I was quite desperate and applied for anything that fits my skill. After this internship, I became unemployed again but started looking for Business Journalism and Technology Journalism jobs as well because I have journalism skill now.

Possible solutions:

  1. Continue applying: There can be a chance that you just need to send a few more resumes. You will never know there’s a company will post a job that fits you. Stay positive and never give up.
    • Meanwhile applying, don’t just sit and apply, do “other stuff” like open a blog in WordPress (WordPress owe me advertising fee now jkjk), start a YouTube channel, find volunteer work or even join a training program. According to the career advisors I speaked to, they all agree having gaps in resumes makes you look bad. Therefore, stay active.
  2. Fix resume and cover letter: Maybe you just not noticed, there maybe spelling or grammatical errors in your CV or cover letter. When HR sees these error, they may tend to be picky and choose the candidate that has the same skill set and experiences as you but error-free in their resumes
    • Besides errors, your resume may be too much words, too less words, too much unrelated experiences or too general. According to some career advisors (including the ones I had), they suggest to use resumes that can be customized for specific jobs. The reason for this is every job may have some variation and the “one size fits all” type may be convenience, but they can’t compete to a resume that’s customized when competing for a position.
    • After I started to use customized resume, I received more and more interviews. Much better than receiving no news from employers. Hey, it is something.
  3. Go back to school: Take up the pencils again and study for the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT or whatever you are pursuing your career to. Having a MS degree is definitely more competitive than a BA or BS degree.
  4. Catch up with skills: Sometimes, you and your career just about a skill set away. For example, in the job description, if the employer preferred someone with SQL programming skill, it is better to know it than not. So learning that extra skill will be very helpful. I admit it, I started blogging in WordPress and trying to learn HTML5 because they are requirements for marketing and editorial jobs.
    • It will be better if you can have certification too 🙂

Conclusion:

It is possible to choose all the solutions above, but just don’t give up or forget about it in the other days. It happened to me with SQL because I find one chapter is too hard to understand and don’t have much chances to apply it. With HTML5, I finally can play around with it in WordPress and in the GameSkinny Internship. Hope this loser’s advice and experience can be helpful in your future, and I am trying these options too.

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