How to Get a Job as a Recent Grad (With A Lot Less Effort)

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Editorial & Social Media Intern Kellen McKillop knows firsthand what it’s like to look for a job as a recent grad. She shares some of her frustrations—and offers some advice on how AfterCollege can help.

So, you’ve just graduated from college as an art history major. Now what? The “real world” looms over you and clocks melt in true Dalí-fashion as you realize that time is moving forward and you need to find a job. Your parents are shaking their heads saying “I told you so” about majoring in art history and your professors have already forgotten the student who sat in the dark rooms and listened to their endless lectures about cubism. Who are you to turn to? The internet of course.

You open Monster. The Search bar, at the top of the site, stares blankly back at you. What are you searching for? Well, you majored in art history, why not start there? So you type the words into the bar and press Enter. What are the results?

1. Art History (Part Time & Adjunct. College Level)

Requirements: 1–2 years of experience as well as a Master’s degree.

2. Art History Instructor (Adjunct)

Requirements: 2–5 years of experience and a Master’s degree.

3. Assistant Director (HR)

Requirements: 1–2 years of experience and an Associate degree.

This is where the panic sets in. First of all, graduating with an art history degree does not give you one to two years of experience as an Assistant Director in Human Resources. Second of all, is your only other option going back to the place you just left, to lecture young adults in dark rooms as you click through pictures of the Sistine chapel? What if you don’t want to be a teacher?

Don’t worry. Take a breath. You’re experiencing what many college grads go through when first starting out on the job hunt. With large job search engines, a crucial step in the fledgling job search process is skimmed over. This step is career discovery. You are a brand-new graduate, fresh-faced and starry-eyed, trying to make your way in this foreign world. You don’t have to already have both feet on your destined career path. It’s perfectly natural to hop-scotch about on the road of possible careers.

This is where the Explore button on AfterCollege can help you. After entering where you went to school, what you majored in, and what year you graduated in, it opens up into a long list of what other similar recent grads are looking into. So, if I enter my alma mater (The University of Redlands), along with Art Major, and a graduation year of 2013, instead of getting a list of jobs, which may or may not apply to me, I am met with a pie chart showcasing the types of jobs that a person with my attributes would most likely be interested in. Museum Curator, Graphic Designer (Junior, Assistant), Art Teacher (every level of education), Photographer, College Archivist, Painter, and more.

As for jobs listed, the first three are Library Services Aide-Storytelling, National Park Service Museum Curator, and Art Teacher at a School for the Deaf and Blind. Now, these jobs may not scream out at you from the start, but that is why they are part of career discovery. You are entering the workforce. Who knows what you may or may not like? Give that Library Storytelling job a try. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your calling as a storyteller, giving insight to the illustrations in the books you read. If you find you’re perfectly miserable telling stories to a library’s three person audience, that’s great too. You are one step closer to finding where you belong in the workplace. A whole world of possibilities, once trapped behind the blank stare of that search engine bar, is now open to you.

Homework time: Stop by AfterCollege and check out our explore feature. What kinds of jobs did you find? Anything sound interesting to you? Let us know what you think!

Kellen McKillop is a recent graduate from the University of Redlands in Southern California. Having graduated with a BA in Creative Writing, she was at a loss as to where to turn career-wise. Subscribing to AfterCollege, she kept her eye on her email while working as a pre-school teacher in Hawaii. When the Editorial & Social Media Internship position popped up in her AfterCollege emails, she immediately applied. Apart from writing a few blog posts à la carte, Kellen hadn’t really been able to sink her teeth into much editorial work since graduating. Now, as an intern at the AfterCollege San Francisco office, she can’t get enough of research and blogging.

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