You’ve spent four years listening to lectures, studying, and pulling all nighters writing papers. You’ve paid thousands of dollars and perhaps owe thousands of dollars in student loans to pay for your education. In June, you finally walked across the stage and received your college degree. From here on out, life should be smooth sailing, right? Maybe not.

college grad

In April of this year, the unemployment rate for 20-24 year olds was a whopping 13.2%. It’s not easy for anyone to get a job in today’s market, but recent graduates with no experience are having an especially hard time. If you’re one of those recent graduates who can’t find a job, what are you supposed to do? Take a deep breath and think things through. There are options for you, and even though they might not be ideal, they may see you through until the economy turns around.

5 Things You Can Do If You Can’t Find a Job

Keep Looking

Your first option is to keep looking for a job. If you have someone (like parents) who can support you while you’re unemployed, you have the luxury of waiting out the economy. Keep applying for jobs. Network a lot. Use social media for your job search. Keep putting your best foot forward, and sooner or later, you’re bound to find something, even if it’s not your dream job.

Go Overseas

The economy in the United States stinks, but you may be able to do something overseas. The most popular option is teaching English in a foreign country. Even if teaching isn’t your thing, a job teaching English overseas will provide you with a great opportunity to travel. And since the ideal time to travel is when your young, teaching English as a second language might be an adventure worth exploring.


A great way to gain job experience is to volunteer in your field of interest. The benefit of volunteering or taking an unpaid internship is that your resume won’t show any gaps when you do apply for a paying job. The downside is that you will need to be selective about what you do. Some volunteer “opportunities” won’t teach you much and will have you doing menial work for no pay.

String Together Part Time Jobs

One way to ride out the economy is to string together a couple of part time jobs. Your schedule will be busy, and you likely won’t be getting any benefits, but at least you will have some money coming in. I actually did this myself after college. It’s not fun, but it pays the bills.

Work for Yourself

If you have a skill you can sell, go into business for yourself. Write, pet-sit, do yard work. The possibilities are endless. I have a brother who is very good at selling his various talents. He once traveled across the country, offering to do manual labor for people when he needed money. Again, it’s not the most fun work, but it provides some income.

In today’s economy job prospects for recent college graduates are few. But with a little creativity and determination, you can find a way to ride out the economy until the day comes when you can begin the career for which you studied.

Do you have any suggestions for recent college graduates who can’t find a job?

Photo by ralph and jenny.