How to Stay Mentally Healthy When You’re Unemployed After College

unemployed after college
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I graduated from my Undergrad Studies in 2014 along with many of my friends that I started college with in 2010. Some of us moved on to jobs in our respective fields almost immediately, but the majority of us did not. This is a pretty common experience among most college grads now days, so if that’s you, don’t despair! Here are some tips on how to wait this out and mentally handle yourself in this transition period of your life!

  1. Reset your mind: it’s not your fault.

There are things you could always do differently, but if you’re applying to jobs and doing your best to make that next step, you have to be aware that the job market right now is not an easy place to be and not an easy place to become stable in right away. Researcher Christopher Boyce published research that shows how unemployment changes your personality over time. Conscientiousness, openness, and agreeableness all change during longterm unemployment after college. There are hundreds and thousands of qualified college graduates right now in the same boat as you. Take a deep breath, and don’t give in to personality changes and guilt. It’s not you, it’s the competitive job market.

  1. Network, network, network!

This is so important in any job field. The knowledge you carry doesn’t count for much unless you know where to utilize it. When you go to interviews, form relationships with those interviewing you — even if you don’t get the job. Make sure that you stick out on paper as well as in person. What is it that separates you from other applicants and how can you show that? If there are events or discussions about your desired job-field that are held locally, go to them. If you just graduated from college last spring, your professors should know some people you can network with, even if it’s just advice or a bridge to another connection. Many times that’s what networking is — making connections to make more connections, and if you can do that you’re already lengths ahead of other recent graduates.

  1. Spend some time in a nonprofit.

My current manager worked in a nonprofit environment between his time in college and starting his first post-grad job, and has recommended it to many of his friends and peers in a jobless position. This isn’t just good for your soul and for other people–it’s also quite the resume builder, and nonprofits are typically very open to college-age volunteers (after all, many of them have been started by students). Working for a nonprofit teaches you how to collaborate with many different types of people. A lot is to be learned about the community and how organizations as a whole work. Stellar experience and excellent connections can be made as well – all sorts of people work with nonprofits and you may find just the connection you’re looking for! It should also be noted that there are many different jobs within nonprofits – you can obtain management and overseer experience at these jobs as well as great experience working with children, the homeless and those with disabilities. Read more: Making the Case for Non-Profit Jobs After College

  1. Keep. Working.

I went to school with a kid who was under immense family pressure to enter into post-undergrad dentistry school. Last I heard, he was waiting around in his hometown because he couldn’t accept anything “less” of his calling. AKA he felt that any other job field was inadequate for him, but that’s just not true! His complacency in this situation just makes me really sad to think about, especially considering the amount of positive potential he has within a work environment. That said, don’t stop being productive. Don’t stop working toward something. And especially, keep working some sort of job. Some people don’t want to settle for an entry-level job in their field, but that’s likely what you need to do. If you’re like me, you didn’t even have that going for you — I worked part-time at a grocery store. There’s other job options as well. Temp jobs, the amount of which is rising, are fantastic skill-building opportunities, as well as networking goldmines. You may be able to find some great odd jobs on Craigslist as well, but keep in mind that, depending where you live, odd jobs can only pay the bills for so long.

  1. Travel.

While job productivity and long term planning are great, I would conversely urge you to consider the possibility of exploring the world in your newly found free time. This could be, of course, an alternative to finding stability in the working world, but it’s not an unproductive option. If you have time off, why not try to explore the world a little bit? You already have a degree and it’s not going anywhere in the next couple of years. So consider this: the time may be now to save up some money from that part-time job you’re hopefully working, and use it to go on an adventure, before you start your career. written by Robert Lanterman What was your experience like after finishing college and getting into the workforce? What insights did you gain? Let me know on Twitter @robolitious.

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