Graduation signals the end of an era. But many are baffled by what lays ahead.
For those with a college degree, the picture seems pretty rosy at first glance. Studies show that the unemployment rate is persistently lower, and earnings are persistently higher than those without one.
It may appear as if the current unemployment rate of 3.6% (as of April 2019) is not something to worry about. But Harvard Business Review states that the bottom quarter of recent grads are making less today than they have in the past.
This raises a red flag. Research indicates that the unemployment rate for recent grads is higher today than it was from late 2006 to early 2008. Furthermore, the median earnings for recent grads were no higher in 2018 than they were in 2000 and 1990.
Washington.edu quoted that approximately 53% of college graduates are unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree. It seems that specific job markets may be flooded with overqualified individuals fighting for the same seats. Unfortunately, the quota does not meet demand. So, where do these ‘excess’ people go? Some end up playing musical chairs until they land a decent job. Others take an entirely different route.
Different journeys for different people
Life is full of opportunities. Learning is a continuous process that continues from the cradle to the grave.
After hearing those wonderful inspirational graduation speeches and throwing your cap into the air, now it’s time to think about what to do next.
1. Get a job
Attend networking events such as job fairs as well as scouting social media platforms. Aim at building contacts with industry professionals.
Consider which companies are more likely to hire fresh graduates. This is where you can get exceptional training, development, and prospects.
But if nothing good catches your attention, consider interning, volunteering, or part-time work.
2. Pursue a postgraduate degree
While a majority of graduates start looking for a job straight out of college, this doesn’t necessarily have to apply to you. Maybe it’s time to go back and complete your further education.
Different universities offer various programs. However, it is important to check the current executive mba rankings of the short-listed universities so that you don’t regret your decision. Executive Mba programs are available in four convenient formats:
- Full-time/day program
- Part-time/evening program
- Professional MBA program
- Executive MBA program
Having a postgraduate degree under your belt can give you an extra boost in your career path. But don’t just any degree program to stall for time or to enhance general employability. Do something that you enjoy and support your career choice later on.
3. Take a gap year
Broaden your horizons. Experience life around the world, learn new languages and meet new people. Taking a gap year helps demonstrate maturity, organizational skills, and self-sufficiency. Just put your time to good use.
4. Become self-employed
Dream jobs aren’t easy to come by. Many are opting to follow their entrepreneurial dreams.
70% of young adult job seekers want to start their own business, while 53% said they would consider doing so in the future. They’re planning their route to success as they finish their studies or while working part-time somewhere else.
But these ambitious entrepreneurs are not alone. Approximately 540,000 people become new business owners every month. This means that the entrepreneurial spirit in America is alive and beating.
Why are so many considering starting their own business?
There are several perks of being your boss, from everything that you do, create, design, and invent. Here are some of the reasons why post-grads are giving this option a great deal of thought:
- More control over the type of work you choose and the people you work with
- Greater freedom to choose the projects you want to work on
- More independence to make your own decisions
- Increased work schedule flexibility
- Investing in opportunities that you are more passionate about
- The satisfaction of getting recognition for all your efforts
- The lack or inefficiency of a current product/service makes it an ideal business proposition. Banking in on the possibilities that are out there for the taking.
Steps to take before you leap
Okay… so now you’re no longer dreaming about starting a business. You REALLY want to do it. Here is some advice that will get you headed in the right direction.
1. Do the research
Does your passionate dream live up to reality? Even with the right motivation and desire to succeed, you need a feasibly sound idea. Understand what operations and finances are required to keep it viable.
2. Gather experience
J. Kelly Hoey, author of Build Your Dream Network, says that job-related functions are rarely taught in school. You have to learn them on the job.
Getting the inside scoop on how the industry works is the best way to learn the ropes. Moreover, gaining experience in various companies and work environments will help refine your skills. When it comes time to run your business, you’ll know precisely how to accomplish it.
3. Build a network
Support is essential for success. Build a network of family, friends, colleagues, and others related to the field. Make connections and spread the word about who you are and what your ambitions are.
More importantly, associate with people who will offer you advice, guidance, and support throughout your journey. It’s essential to build relationships in your community and field.
4. Use your tech skills
It’s the digital era. Recent post-grads are at an advantage because they are more knowledgeable about technology. Equipped with the proper tools, you have the essentials at your fingertips. Now you can establish, promote, and grow your business.
Though purchasing a domain name and building a website are just the basics, there are other steps necessary to leverage your business. But we can leave this topic for another day.
5. Do the maths
Money is power in the entrepreneurial world. Managing your finances is essential. And since numbers add up pretty quickly, know the financial state of your business, even before you begin. Have your investors lined up and on the same page.
I can’t say this enough, but you can’t get anywhere in life without the proper plans. Develop an appropriate business structure suitable for your company.
But it’s not all about the ideas you have in your mind. You have to know how to communicate your proposals to various team members in your organization. The success of any business is at risk when effective communication between employees breaks down.
So you’ve graduated and think you should start a company. That’s great!
Being your own boss may sound exciting and fun, but it’s not easy creating something from scratch. If you’re considering taking this non-traditional path, make sure you have the resources to manage the workload as well as the finances. Consider working part-time to support your ventures before running it full swing.
And even though you may encounter hurdles along the journey of establishing your business, don’t give up. More importantly, be flexible to change.
It’s time to think outside the box…do something different.
So do you have what it takes?
About the Author:
Alma Causey is a Freelance writer by day and sports fan by night. She writes about tech education and health-related issues. Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover.