What to do if you’re newly qualified and can’t get your first job?
Newly qualified people are bound to feel a downturn the hardest. You don’t have a track record, your skill set may not exactly match what is required by industry. In addition, people with work experience, who’ve been made redundant, start applying for entry level jobs.
What can you do if you are newly qualified but can’t get a job?
- Don’t blame yourself – it isn’t your fault the banks managed to lend money to people who couldn’t pay it back so don’t beat yourself up. Fortunately, most employers will understand a period of unemployment during a recession and won’t hold it against you.
- Keep your hand in – learn new skills and brush up existing skills that are in demand by employers. Show some initiative, learn skills that are new enough to be in short supply. Participation in an open source project wouldn’t hurt either. You need to be able to put a positive spin when the inevitable job interview comes up and you’re asked what you’ve been up to for the last x months. Saying that you’re an expert in the Jerry Springer show won’t work I’m afraid.
- Keep up a workmanlike routine – whilst you might feel like watching daytime soaps all day, don’t! Keep up a regular routine. Get out of bed in the morning and get into a job search routine. Scan the internet for jobs and the local and national press.
- Network – keep in touch with your college buddies and attend networking groups related to technologies that interest you.
- Earn money wherever you can find it – careers are all very well, but in the end you are just earning money. If you are earning enough money to pay your bills then you get time to figure stuff out.
- Compromise, compromise, compromise – You may have spent your college years dreaming about Bill Gates begging on bended knee for you to go work for Microsoft, but unfortunately, that ain’t gonna happen. You don’t have to take the first job offered but, after a while, what you would have looked down on as a rubbish job may start to look a lot more attractive.
By far the biggest lesson is not to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes things just aren’t your fault but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about the effects upon you. Be proactive in your search, keep up on the industry and try to do something interesting so that when you finally do get an interview you are positive and enthusiastic. You don’t want to give the impression of being miserable in your interview even if that’s how you feel. The interviewer isn’t interested… they just want somebody to fill a vacant post not to be your sounding board. That’s what friends and family are for…!