While you were in school, you probably imagined how awesome your life would be once you graduated. After all, with a marketing degree, you should be able to get an incredible job right away, correct? Sounds great - but that's not always the case.
Graduating without a job secured is more common than you think. The average job search takes over six weeks - and in a dynamic field like marketing, it may take even longer. Completing the search while still a student could be nearly impossible. We all know the difficuluty balancing senior year coursework, adulting, and a ton of other responsibilities. So, what should you do if you graduate and aren't working in the marketing field right away?
Consider This Time as an Opportunity
No matter the reason, obtaining a job before graduation doesn’t always happen. If you're in this boat with time on your hands, view it as a unique opportunity. You have the chance to put time into growing—both professionally and personally. If you were to have gone directly from school into a full-time job, you would miss out on this chance.
While having a job right away has certain advantages (such as a steady paycheck), it’s very easy to find yourself in a job that doesn’t meet your personal needs. The key is for you to capitalize on this opportunity and make the most of it. After all, how often do you find yourself with this much time available to improve yourself professionally?
What Can You Do to Take Advantage?
- Learn About Yourself – You’ve spent most of your lifetime as a student, do you know what kind of work you would be best suited for? Do you know how you’ll thrive in the workforce? Learning about yourself, either through personal reflection or by working with a mentor can be an important way to improve your prospects.
- Network – Get out there and make connections in the marketing field. Once you are employed, it’s easy to get stuck in a “bubble” of sorts and lose track of what’s happening outside of it. Now, you have the chance to connect with people in all industries and walks of life.
- Build Online Connections – Have you created a LinkedIn profile? Are you taking advantage of all the benefits it has to offer? Other social media sites can be beneficial to building a professional network too, especially for someone interested in social media as a marketing opportunity.
- Learn Practical Skills – Are there holes in your education? Think about all the skills that you didn’t learn while at school and consider following up on attaining them. You may benefit from online courses, working with a professional for “on the job” training (so to speak) or earning an industry recognized marketing certification.
- Volunteer – Wouldn’t it be nice to get work experience and help others at the same time? Many charities or organizations would love to access your skillset. Volunteering gives you the chance to gain experience and round out your resume.
- Consider an Internship – An internship, whether paid or unpaid, is an excellent way to get a foot in the door and earn practical experience. Now is the time to look!
While you may experience frustration by not having a job as soon as you graduate, remember: you’re not the only one who faced this hurdle. Try not to stress and put the focus on your future. You’ll earn that much-desired position, and perhaps then you can mentor others who are in your current situation.