It’s common to have difficulty finding a job in your field (or sometimes any job) after graduating.
So if you have no job after college, whether you just graduated or have been searching for 1-2 years, don’t feel bad. You’re NOT alone.
And there are a couple of great ways to get a job after college that I’ll share in this article.
Follow these steps to boost your chances of landing a good job after graduation.
1. Network as Much as Possible
One of the common themes I’ve seen after talking to many people with no job after college is that they applied only online and didn’t build/use their network.
Now you might not have a very big network, that’s okay. When I graduated I had done almost zero network and felt totally unprepared to job search.
Networking and having direct conversations is still a valuable tactic to use as much as you can.
Even if you have no existing network right now, you can talk to your academic advisors and former professors.
Talk to classmates and friends, too.
Tell your parents and family you’re job searching (and what you’re looking for) so that they can tell their colleagues. If people don’t know you’re job hunting, they can’t help you.
If you want detailed steps on how to build your network (including by “cold” messaging people who you think could introduce you to great companies), I wrote a full article on why networking is the fastest way to find a job.
The bottom line is: if you’re not making the most of the people you know, and taking steps to meet new people and grow your network, you’re leaving a BIG opportunity on the table.
And it’s never too late to start this. Whether you’re 22 or 52, you should start networking this year, and you’ll be glad you did in the future.
Types of people you can network with and ask for help in finding a job
- Friends/classmates from school
- Family members
- Family members of good friends
- Former college professors and academic advisors
- Former managers/bosses from any internships or part-time jobs you’ve held
Ways to meet new people to grow your network after graduation
- Go to local meetups related to the industry you are interested in. Meetup.com and Facebook groups are great ways to find these events.
- Contact people on LinkedIn and ask a question about their experience working for their employer (explain that you’re job searching and curious what the work environment is like). Word-for-word example of a message can be found here.
- Ask people in your current network if there’s anyone they can refer you to. Find out if they know anyone who would be valuable for you to speak with in your job hunt.
How to ask your network for help finding a job after college
If you’re very close with somebody, you can contact them and immediately ask for help. “Hey, did you used to work for XYZ Company? I’m interested in finding an entry-level job there and was wondering if you still have any connections there?”
However, if you’re approaching somebody you aren’t very close with… such as a friend from university that you had a few classes with but have only known for one year, you want to be more casual.
Ask them a question like, “do you have any advice for trying to get my resume in front of companies like XYZ Company?”
If they can help, they often will, and this sounds a lot better than asking for a favor right away.
Try to help them too, if you can. Ask if they need any help finding jobs as well. This will make them want to help you more.
After an initial question, you can ask them more directly for help if they don’t realize what you’re asking for. But it’s better to start with a much “softer” question.
2. Apply Directly to Growth-Stage Companies
I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of companies out there require experience, and won’t hire someone who is entry-level. Very frustrating, right?
However, there’s one type of company that typically LOVES to hire entry level people.
Fast-growing, new companies. Growth-stage companies.
By applying to growth-stage companies, you multiply the chance that they’re looking for entry level people.
Fast-growing companies often like to train people and promote from within as they build their company culture and expand their operations.
You also greatly increase the chance you’ll be selected in the interview, because they’re often hiring multiple people at the same time, for the same role. Would you rather interview against 10 other people for one open position? Or interview with 10 other people for six open positions? The choice is pretty obvious.
Because of this, applying directly to fast-growing companies is one of my 3 best methods to find a job right now, especially for recent graduates who haven’t found a job after college.
3. Apply Directly for Jobs on LinkedIn
The two methods above are what I recommend for the best ways to find a job after college, or at least where you should start.
However, you might not have much of a network, or maybe you don’t want to work in a growth-stage company or startup.
So you can also try to apply directly to companies on LinkedIn.
I find this to be better than other big job boards because you can often apply directly through LinkedIn’s Easy Apply feature, without leaving the website. Just attach your resume and hit “send” and you’re done.
Here is a guide on applying to jobs on LinkedIn with Easy Apply.
This method lets you avoid having to create an account on multiple sites, and avoid having to fill in personal details over and over which is a huge waste of time.
And if you think you’re “missing out” by not sending a cover letter, read this. Cover letters aren’t as necessary as you may think when applying online.
4. Improve your Interview Skills
Think about this for a second – when you go into the interview, the hiring manager has never seen you work a single day in your life.
So they’re deciding whether to hire entirely based on what you say.
This is the power of interview skills. What you say in the interview has the power to get you hired for the top, highest-paying jobs out there.
Or if you’re making interview mistakes, employers won’t give you a chance to show what you’re capable of. It could definitely be the reason you have no job after college.
The bottom line is building great interview skills can change your career and allow you to get the best jobs.
If you learn how to give great interview answers, and discover what employers want to hear, you’ll have a massive advantage every time you change positions and earn far more money in your career.
You can find all of our free job interview resources here.
5. Consider Relocating
If you did well in school, picked a great major or field of study, and still can’t find a job, it might be your location.
Some regions just don’t have many job opportunities.
If you think your location is holding you back, and your personal life allows for it, consider relocating.
Different regions have “clusters” of companies from certain industries (for example, I used to recruit for Biotech companies, and they’re clustered in San Francisco, Boston, New Jersey, Maryland, and a few other cities).
Yes, you can find a biotech company out in Indiana.
But it’s going to be more difficult to get hired, and you’ll be stuck with that one employer for 20-30 years unless you relocate in the future. Not good.
(And if I’ve seen one thing as a recruiter, the best way to keep your salary LOW is to stay with one employer for 20+ years.)
So if I’ve convinced you to consider relocating, here are some steps you can take right now:
- Decide what industry you want to work in most
- Do your research and figure out where the “clusters” are located for this industry. What cities or regions are most of the companies located in?
- Once you have a list of the biggest cities/regions for your industry, pick the most attractive one or two regions based on personal factors – proximity to friends and family, cost of living, climate, or anything else you care about! Think about where you’d actually like to live.
- Prepare your resume for an out-of-state job search
- Start applying for jobs in this new city or state
Repeat and Adjust
Job searching isn’t an exact science. The steps above should help you find a job after college, but you may need to test a few things, make adjustments, etc.
If you send some “cold” messages on LinkedIn and don’t get any replies, change the script.
If you go on four interviews and don’t get any callbacks, it’s time to work on your interview skills more and figure out where you’re making mistakes.
And things don’t happen overnight. You need to apply for a lot of jobs and keep your effort going.
But if you try these steps, make adjustments and improve, you WILL find a job after college.
Good luck and I hope this article gave you new hope, motivation and most importantly – a game plan that you’re ready to move forward with in your job search.
How to Finally Get Hired if You Can’t Find a Job After College – Quick Review:
If you read the steps above, you now know some potential tactics to try if you have no job after graduating. Those steps are:
- Use your network whenever possible. Always try to get introduced to a company.
- Apply directly to companies on their website when you can, and look for growth-stage companies because they hire more entry-level people.
- Try applying on LinkedIn to avoid the hassle of having to register an account on multiple job sites or company “Career” pages.
- Improve your interview skills so that you’re able to take advantage each time you get an interview.
- Consider relocating or remote work to expand your job opportunities.
If you follow the steps above, you’ll boost your odds of getting hired, whether you just graduated or are one, two, or even three years after graduation with no job.
Most importantly, don’t give up. You only need one good job offer, and with the tactics above, that can happen in a matter of weeks.