The Post-College Job Hunt: Q&A for Grads

By , Columnist
When I recently served on an alumni panel at my alma mater a few weeks back, I got bombarded with a lot of the questions I remember having myself just before I graduated. Happily, I've survived out of college for a year and two days exactly and was more than willing to give them (and you) some of the answers I wish I'd had back then.

What the heck am I going to do about student loans??

Thinking ahead about repaying a massive amount of debt is enough to give any graduating or recently-graduated senior an ulcer. I think this is particularly worrisome when you're not sure of your future plans and have a mere six month grace period to figure it out.

Here's the thing, though: it's great that you're thinking ahead, but keep in mind that you'll find a way to work it out. Even if the job situation doesn't clear up as quickly as you'd like, keep a line of communication open with your lender and they'll likely help you work around inclement circumstances. Personally, though, despite living completely independently, my student loan payments aren't at the top of my worries list.

How do I find a job?

In order to pay your student debt, you clearly need income. So how do you go about earning it? Check out places like and Because nearly all online databases are prone to scammers, make sure to vet any job or company you're interested in. However, these are still great tools for tracking down possible leads, so be patient and do your homework.

Also, talk to people. Chat about the your skill sets and the job market, and make connections through friends, your alma mater's alumni network, family friends, people you meet out and about - anyone who's outside your own social bubble. Chances are, someone's heard of an opening, knows someone who knows someone who needs to fill a spot, or can at least tell you what they've heard about a company you're considering. 

dream job cartoon.jpgAre you working in your dream job?

Not at all. In fact, I came out of college with the intention of working for a bit, then going back for my master's and Ph.D. so I could eventually teach. Now, though, I'm working in marketing/PR and am really enjoying myself. That's one important thing to note about your fresh-from-college job search: your chances are slim to none that you'll immediately find the job of your dreams.

You need a paycheck and you need to gather experience, so find a job to which you can effectively adapt the skills you already have. You never know how the experience you gain now will help you reach your ideal job down the line, or land you the dream job you never knew wanted.

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Emmie Scott is an English major-turned-marketing exec, with a passion for writing, humor, sharing knowledge, and "pink drinks." After hours, she started Are Toe Rings Professional Attire?, a blog for college grads and twenty-somethings looking to find their way through that daunting labyrinth called…

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