One of the most daunting fears college students have next to missing the 11:59 pm deadline is their post-graduation Plan A falling through with no Plan B on deck. Every student has a dream occupation that they spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours studying for, or at least an idea of one. You’re not alone in this, in fact, the thwarting of your original plans might be a minor delay before a better opportunity comes along.
Until that opportunity crosses your path, here are 5 back up plans to keep you afloat.
1. Think Horizontal
This backup plan may seem to be the most obvious, however, many often fail to see the benefits of horizontal job searching. Throughout all four years of undergrad, many students spend their studies in very specific areas and skills. That is where broadening your experience with horizontal job hunting comes into play. If you are a STEM major, you are a strong candidate for anything based in fact and analytics but could probably use work when it comes to communicating your strengths to the general public. If you are a humanities major, you are most likely good with communication but could probably use some work with numbers. Apply for positions where your strengths and weaker points meet. The position could be a retail position, a startup or a larger corporation. Not only will you sharpen up in some areas but you will gain additional experience that will make you appear as a well-rounded candidate as you continue to shoot for your dream job or you may unexpectedly find a new niche that you love.
2. Turn Your Freetime into Fee-time
Free time, we all have it even if it is only a little bit. That being said turn your favorite hobby or free time activity into a source of income. Assuming that your hobby is something that you love and are passionate about, let that drive you in perfecting your craft and building it into a business, but know your market. For example, there will always be a demand for hair stylists, lash technicians and makeup artists, however, in some locations there might be the issue of an oversaturated market- especially in larger cities. If you enjoy doing hair and or makeup you can either market yourself as a self-taught stylist or MUA, or take a more sure-fire route by obtaining a cosmetology license or certification. Make sure to build your clientele along your journey. There is also always a need for photographers, graphic designers, illustrators, coding, etc. Your hobby is always useful, you just need to strategize a way to turn it into something bigger.
3. Teach The World, See The World
If you enjoy traveling and want to take some time off before grad school or want to do something outside of your comfort zone before starting your career, consider teaching abroad. This route is increasingly becoming more and more popular amongst recent graduates and people who just want something different. As a caveat, this is not necessarily an option to go for on a whim. You will need to save money beforehand, especially if you go through the TEFL, TESL or TESOL certification programs that cost upwards of $1,000 and 100 hours to complete. Before going forward with this option, do extensive research. If you have a specific country you are interested in look into any programs offered through that country. Also, look into the customs and the current state of the country you choose or has been chosen for you before heading off.
4. Intern In The Interim
Interning during your undergrad years can be difficult. Having to work around class schedules, extracurriculars and even part-time jobs can often lead to little time for sleep and study much less for an internship. Sometimes it is not always doable during the summer either as summer plans and locations can be unpredictable. If you are dead set on a particular career or area of interest, some companies extend internships to recent graduates. Interning after completing undergrad can benefit you as you have had more time to hone in on your subject of choice and can be seen as more knowledgable in said area. The best case scenario is that once you have completed your internship and presented yourself as a standout candidate the company will hire you. Looks like Plan A might work out after all.
5. Keep Going
I know. You’re tired of school. And you probably don’t want to add on to any more debt owed to our good friend Sallie Mae. Not getting a job offer straight out of college is not the end of the world, neither is returning home. While you’re home pick up a certification in an additional trade as mentioned in option #2 or take extra classes at your local community college just to brush up on certain skills that could be useful on your resume. Do this while saving your money before taking a leap of faith into a new venture.