Those who don the cap and gown without a job offer in hand are in an unenviable position. But do not give up and certainly do not let down in your efforts. This is not the time to take a vacation or take some time off. It's time to redouble your efforts and make a strong push forward. You are now truly full-time in your job search, and the quicker you make your mark the better, because the market is about to be flooded with about 500,000 other lost souls just like yourself. But with one very major difference—you have armed yourself for battle and are ready to push at the lines. Use the Napoleon Strategy—keep pushing at the lines until you find an area of potential vulnerability, then put all your forces and energy into penetrating that area of possible access.
If you have not already done so, go back and read the job search content on this site in its entirety. In it you will find several keys that can still unlock doors that might otherwise block your progress.
And never ever give up. This is your moment of truth and you need to push forward with every ounce of courage and tenacity.
Congratulations! If you have graduated with no job, you have just accepted a full-time job. You are now a full-time job seeker. Do not conduct your job search with anything less than a full-time effort. With anything less than a full-time commitment, you will increase the amount of time you will be without work—which will decrease your overall attractiveness in the job market.
Following is a simple work schedule to follow:
7:30 A.M. - Early morning callbacks to contacts you were unable to reach the previous day.
8:30 A.M. - Employer research on the Internet, at the library or the Career Center. Write follow-up emails to your contacts from the day before.
4:30 P.M. - Send same-day follow-up emails to all of the new contacts of the day.
5:30 P.M. - One last attempt to reach those who may have been unreachable during the day.
In looking at the above, there is one major activity missing: interviewing. Until you spend the time to make direct contact with potential employers, there will not be any interviewing. When interviewing starts happening, you simply need to adjust your schedule for the interviews. And with each interview, your new job comes closer to being a reality.
The first thing you should do upon graduating without a job is to retrace your job search steps over the past year. You should immediately recontact all the employers with which you interviewed. If you interviewed at the company-site and failed to make the final cut, you should recontact. If you interviewed on campus and received a form letter rejection, you should recontact. Even if you only went through a short interview on the phone you should recontact.
Why? Several reasons. First, most employers have a small attrition factor before the actual start date, when some of the accepted offers do not actually start. Better offer. Decided to go back to school. Budding romance in another part of the country. Joined the Peace Corps. Whatever the reason, where there is a dropout before the start date, there is an open position. And when it is this late in the process, few companies want to begin the hiring process all over again. In larger companies there are usually a set number of entry level positions that need to be filled for a full training class. You could be the right person at the right time.
The second reason is that many employers will have made changes in their hiring needs during the intervening weeks or months. If that hiring demand is greater, your notification of immediate availability could make you a prime candidate. Even if there is not an immediate need, any new openings that become available in the near future could have your name quickly attached.
The third reason is that your availability has changed. Namely, you are available immediately. Since many medium-sized and smaller companies operate within shorter time frames, they may have shied away from you when your graduation (and availability) was still months away. Your present availability could put you in immediate contention for any currently open positions.
The final reason is that even if you come up against a "Sorry, nothing is available" dead end, you have another opportunity to ask for referrals to other companies. Many employers are willing to help you by providing contact information for other employers who may be hiring.
So retrace your steps and notify all past contacts that you are still available. If you are uncomfortable in making this approach, use the excuse of updating the employer with your new address and phone number(s), vital information if employers are to be able to reach you at a later date. And don't just stop with your employer contacts—recontact your whole network of contacts. There will be a renewed sense of urgency on everyone's part to assist you in your job search. Take advantage of it.
Contact all your friends and classmates who just graduated. If they have found a job, congratulate them. Ask first if there are any other jobs available at their new employer for which you might be a fit. As a new employee, they may be willing to refer you as an employee referral. You may be their first employee referral bonus. Then ask if there were any positions they turned down during the course of their job search. If the declined position and company are in your field, ask for employer contact information and their personal recommendation. The employer may not have filled the position yet, and the recommendation from their previously favored candidate may provide you with an immediate "in" for the position.
Reread all of our job search information. Again, if needed. Cover to cover. You probably skimmed it the first time. Now take the time to read it. And do all the things you did not do the first time around. Job search requires a multifaceted approach to be successful. You never know which initial lead may turn out to be an interview and potential job. Make sure you take advantage of every avenue available to you.