When most people think of college graduations, they conjure up images of sunny days on football fields, with gown-wearing graduates throwing their caps toward the blue spring sky. That's fine, but what about the numerous graduates who collect their diplomas indoors in December? Not only do their graduation ceremonies suffer from a bit of an identity crisis but these grads also must play catch-up when it comes to finding a job.
Of course, no one says that finding a job will be easy. In fact, December grads can expect some hard work ahead of them in their job search. They can also expect some down time as well. Sure, there are recruiters who hire throughout the year, but many employers will take a look at January numbers before deciding to re-staff their positions. You should never stop looking but searching for a job – especially in the winter – shouldn't be your only post-college option.
Here are six ways to keep occupied during a slow-moving job search:
Pay your career placement office a visit: If possible, check in with your school's career placement office once a week. Not only will you be able to find out the latest positions being pumped through the school, you'll also develop some one-on-one relationships with job counselors that could come in handy in the future.
Grab a bite to eat: Schedule lunches with your parents, friends, professors and others and ask them to bring a co-worked along. Don't hit them up for jobs. Instead, ask about their career paths and see what strategies they used to find a job. Just let them know beforehand what your intentions are and it's likely they'll be flattered enough to upgrade your restaurant choice and pick up the tab.
Keep a realistic sleep pattern: Sure, without a job you can afford to stay up all night and sleep until noon, but once you start working, you'll need to change your lifestyle — and that's no easy task. Get a jump on your eventual Monday-through-Friday, 9-to-5 existence by keeping normal hours. If you feel like you're more productive at night, that's fine, but don't flip your schedule from a p.m. to a.m. lifestyle unless you're certain that you'll be able to make the adjustment to a nine-to-five schedule when you land that new job.
Read and write: You may not want to head back to the James Joyce just yet but just because you're out of school doesn't mean you can stop studying. Keep your mind sharp by reading books that have more sentences than pictures and pages that have more words than white space. And don't forget to write. After all, any job you take will require you to use the English language in complete sentences, not the usual chat-speak U R used 2. Also, reading newspapers and relevant websites help you stay current on the latest issues, which could be helpful during that pre-interview chitchat you'll have with a potential employer.
Volunteer with a local charity: You'll do some hands-on good for others and could get the opportunity to meet with business and civic leaders who will be impressed by your sense of responsibility. And don't underestimate the power of doing something positive for others. You'll feel better about yourself, you'll focus on your accomplishments and you'll begin setting the risk/reward patterns that could serve you well throughout your career.
Find a part-time job: Similar to the goals mentioned above, you'll be setting positive patterns and bringing in some cash, which will completely undercut your dad's worries about how you spend your day-to-day existence. If possible, try to grab some evening hours. By leaving your days open, you'll be able to cultivate contacts and continue pounding the pavement.