What If I Can't Find a Job?

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In a difficult job market you may be doing everything right, but still be having a tough time finding a job. You may also be in a situation where your job is not paying you, and you are having a difficult time finding a new job.Whether you have just graduated, were recently laid off, or you are ready to change jobs it is important to keep a perspective as you continue your job hunt. It does not come off well to appear desperate in a job interview.

Make Finding a Job Your First Priority

First, you need to step up the job-hunting process. It is important that you set a goal and stick to it each week. This goal may mean finding and apply to five or ten jobs a week, every week until you have a good full-time job. It can be discouraging if you are looking and not getting any results. If this is the case you may want to have someone look over your resume, and consider getting help with the interview process. Be sure to use every connection you possibly can. You may need to widen your job search to include a wider variety of jobs or more locations.

Widen Your Search

By widening your search, you may need to expand the areas or cities that you are willing to work.  You may need to consider working in a rural area or moving across the country in order to find a job. You need to work your contacts. Ask for help from your friends, family, and distant acquaintances. If you hear of an opening at a company, try to find someone who works there that can reach out and make a connection for you. Consider expanding your field or specialty. You may have a degree in computer programming, and a school district may be looking for a programmer for a specific project.


  • Consider looking in other geographic locations
  • Branch out in your field for other options
  • Use your network to find jobs that you can qualify for

Expand Your Qualifications

Another thing that you need to do is to make sure that you are qualified for the job. You may consider taking on freelance work or an internship in the field that you want to work in or a part-time position. These things can often open doors to full-time work, and even if they do not they will give you more experience to put on your resume. Additionally, you may consider getting additional certifications in your career field if possible. You should also check to make sure you do not have something that is preventing you from getting a job like a poor credit history.

You can address this problem if you realize that it is standing your way.

  • Seek out additional certifications in your field
  • Look at part-time work to give you real job experience in your field
  • If you are freelancing ask clients if they will be references for you

Work Your Plan B

If you cannot find a job you need to have a plan to fall back on. There is no reason not to be working, especially if you do not have unemployment benefits because you are a recent graduate. There are always part-time jobs available. The pay may be low, and the hours not that great but it is better than not making any money at all. A job with evening or night time hours will leave your day free so that you can continue to look for work. Waiting tables, delivering pizzas, working at UPS or a similar company or stocking shelves are all options that pay well, and can help tide you over while you can continue to look for work.

Don't allow yourself to stay in a job where you are not earning what you are worth.

  • Keep your college job
  • Consider taking on an internship if you can afford it
  • Research the companies you would like to work for and determine the best ways to get hired on with them

Consider Your Expenses

Finally, you should consider your expenses to avoid running up debt while you are looking for a job. You may want to consider your living arrangements while you are looking. The best situation is one where you can share the high cost of rent with others. This may mean a group of roommates or it may mean moving back home while you continue to look for a job. Although moving back home may not be appealing it can prevent you from going further into debt. However it is a tricky situation and you do not want to become sucked back into this as a permanent solution.

You should also keep your expenses as low as possible. Do not spend tons on new clothes or video games. You can do this once you get your first paycheck.

  • Stick to a budget while you are looking for a job
  • Be creative in finding ways to cut back on your expenses
  • Consider selling items to avoid going back into debt

Be Cautious About Heading Back to School

As a caution, many recent graduates are considering attending graduate school in the hopes that the job market will be better when they graduate with an advanced degree. If you are considering doing this you should carefully consider the cost effectiveness of the degree and make sure that it will actually be worth the money you put into getting it. You should also avoid accumulating any more debt because there is no guarantee that the market will improve a great deal in the next two or three years.

  • Make sure that there are jobs in the field you are studying
  • Check the average salary for a master's degree in your field and make sure it is worth it.
  • Look for scholarships and assistantships to help pay for graduate school