Reader Question: How Long Does it Take to Find a Job After College?

This is a question that post-grads ask all the time. 

The time between college and finding your first “real” job can be really frustrating. However, it’s important to remember that, just like everything else, it’s only temporary! 

When I was in undergrad, I envisioned myself graduating and immediately finding my dream job in a big law firm! When that didn’t happen right away, I got a little discouraged. I eventually did get a job in that field, only to discover it wasn’t the career for me… 

So I went to grad school for education. After graduating from grad school, do you think I had more realistic expectations for the job search process? Nope! I expected the first school I contacted to say “Wow! You have a shiny new Master’s Degree! Let us clear some room for you so you can start teaching here!”. 

I had to start from the bottom all over again. That’s just how it works.  

(5 Things Recent Grads Need to Know)

If you’re struggling to get your resumé noticed, or to get called in/back for an interview, here are a couple of things to keep in mind! 

Experience is King

Even after you complete the education aspect of a job, there is still the experience aspect to get through. And because most recent graduates are pretty young, the only way to gain experience in your field is to get it however you can! 

Even with your degree, be prepared to start at an “entry level” position. Sometimes this is because you’re young. Sometimes it’s all that’s available. Sometimes it’s because the company sees potential in you, but wants to see if you’re reliable first. 

Never think a job in your desired field is “beneath” you. Everyone has to start somewhere, so don’t worry! You’ll get where you’re trying to go! Maybe just not as quickly as you thought you would. So, how can you get this experience that everyone seems to be so interested in? 

In my experience, volunteering has been the best way!

(5 Common Post Grad Problems and How to Deal with Them)

Volunteer Within Your Field

After college, when I was trying to get my first job as a paralegal, my interviewer really liked it that I had interned with another attorney in the building while I was in school. Everyone talks, too, so make sure to leave every situation (paid or unpaid) on good terms! Everyone that you work with or for is a potential reference that you can list when you’re searching for your next job! Put in 100%, even if the work you’re doing is free. 

When I was leaving the legal field and trying to get my first job in a school setting (before going to grad school or becoming a certified teacher), my interviewer really liked it that I had been voluntarily teaching Sunday School for a few years. That was literally my only experience working with kids (aside from babysitting), and it was the only relevant thing I had to put on my resumé, so on my resumé it went! 

(How to Create Long Term Goals)

Keep a Positive Attitude

This one’s hard. It’s really, really hard. And the longer you’ve been looking, the harder it can be to continue. But the next resumé you send out could be the one! And if there’s a specific company you know you want to work for, keep contacting them Blair Waldorf style! 🙂 

The time between finishing college and starting a career can be really discouraging, stressful, and unpredictable… Just remember that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! It was hard for everyone! 

In the words of a very wise blue fish, just keep swimming! You’ll get there 🙂 

(How to Actually Accomplish Your Goals)

What is the biggest challenge you’re facing while looking for a job? Or, if you have your job, what was the best advice you received? How long did it take? 

Further Reading:

This survey from may make you feel better! 

The Balance has a really great post on Making it Between College and Your First Job

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