6 Debunked Myths About Unemployment After CollegeFeb 04, 2021
We all hope we’ll have a nice, smooth beeline from point A (graduation) to point B (first job). Any more than 2 months of unemployment after college isn’t really part of the plan.
While some of you may get a smooth transition, most of you are going to have it more complicated than that. Our goal isn’t to scare you, but to prepare you to plan realistically for the transition ahead.
1. “Unemployment after college doesn’t last too long.”
A Monster survey found that over half of college graduates thought the job search would take less than 1–2 months—in contrast to the 5 months it *actually* takes.
Current college students, we know you’re insanely busy, but the future will thank you if you get started job hunting now! Do what you can now so that you can spend less time in limbo later.
Not sure how to search for a job in college? We’ve got you covered. Even if you’ve already graduated recently, you’re still fresh in the memories of your professors, classmates, and college career counselors, so use that to your advantage and tap into their networks and knowledge while you still can!
2. “I’m a science major. So, I need a job in the sciences. Full-time. With benefits. Or I’ve failed.”
We naturally want to have it all, but most of us can’t.
A friend pointed out that we want achieving our goals to be fast, easy/cheap, and good. In real life, we usually have to compromise on one or two of those elements.
Assess your own priorities so that you know the best way to make room in your plans for reality. Here’s a diagram applying some scenarios of the “fast, easy/cheap, or good” paradigm to the job hunt.
There’s no one element that’s better to focus on than others—consider the possible scenarios:
- You need a paycheck but have family emergencies and don’t have the bandwidth for a high-effort job search. Focus on making your job search easier.
- You’re resilient and can handle intense work in a very short amount of time. You can probably drop the “easy” element.
- You have the patience and resources to find a job you like while taking care of yourself—take it slow and drop the “fast” element.
Figure out what you need your job search to look like and what you can let go of.
3. “I have plenty of time.”
Is unemployment bias fair? That’s not our place to say, but it is real. Try to spend minimal time unemployed.
If you can’t avoid an extensive unemployment period, explain to potential employers that:
- Your unemployment wasn’t your fault (usually more relevant if you got laid off, but you certainly can’t be blamed for wanting to graduate!)
- You used your unemployed time to build skills that will help you in your next job.
4. “How does everybody else have jobs already? Something must be wrong with me.”
Who exactly is “everyone”—the four acquaintances you saw post about their new jobs on LinkedIn last week? For every person posting about their new job, there’s someone in the same boat as you.
In the same way it can for single people, social media can make job hunters feel in the minority—people don’t go about posting updates about “I’M UNEMPLOYED!!!! WOOHOO!!!” so you don’t hear as much about it.
By no means is something inherently wrong with you if you can’t find a job. Maybe you’ll have to take steps towards filling in gaps in experience or skills, but you can get there!
If you need a job quickly or you’re just so done with the job search, talk to our experienced coaches! They’ll help you figure out the best strategy and timing to quickly land your dream job.
5. “Then, what’s the point? I’m doomed to be unemployed.”
Anyone can feel this way, but you might especially be feeling it if you had a rescinded job offer. If that’s you, we are so sorry—but if one company noticed you, there’s bound to be another that will, too.
Life is hard and less straightforward than we want, but it’s not hopeless. If you believe it is, you’ll be paralyzed and unable to make any progress. That is not what we want for you.
If you can find the motivation to just take one job hunting step every day, those steps will add up. Even your unanswered messages, rejected applications, and botched interviews will build your experience so you get better and better at the job search process.
And remember—with job searching, you only have to get it right once!
6. “Live with my parents after college? That’s shameful!”
Moving home isn’t for everyone, but there’s nothing inherently shameful about it.
If pride is the only thing stopping you, you may want to reevaluate whether you’re blinding yourself to an option that can save a lot of money and act as a safety net while you focus on launching your career.
It’s also a lot better to move home by choice instead of being forced to because you run out of money or a job falls through.
Navigating unemployment after college can feel hard and lonely— but it doesn't have to.
Don’t be scared; be prepared. Here are links to some actionable steps you can take to shrink your unemployment time after college:
- Strategize your networking with our 5 easy steps.
- Learn tips for writing cover letters and resumes without direct job experience.
- Read our graduate career advice to better understand today’s wide career world.
While the biggest hurdle of unemployment after college is that there’s no one-size-fits-all, our affordable coaching and community program, Career Cram, can equip you with the tools, community, and personalized advice for your unique needs after college.
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