Alumni Corner: How to survive post school unemployment

Kyra Smith-Cullen
Alumni Contributor
Photo courtesy of Kyra Smith-Cullen

Photo courtesy of Kyra Smith-Cullen

At the end of August, I found myself in an entirely unfamiliar situation. An explosion of back to school advertisements and statuses about my friends returning to college surrounded me, when – for the first time in 16 years – I wasn’t going back to school.

As a very recent LHU alumna, I felt slightly out of place. I was employed but it was seasonal, and I had yet to apply to anything in my field. For a moment, I wanted to come back to what was familiar and certain…school, even if it meant paying tuition.

However, reality set in and I reminded myself that I could survive outside of the daily drudge of classes and homework. I chose to set up an action plan that may be useful to any new or upcoming grad, to help me adjust to my new life and encourage me to make something of my new free time.

1. Resume the résumé 

When I sat down to look at it, I realized that I hadn’t updated my résumé since a few months before graduation. It didn’t include anything about my final semester, like my final GPA or academic awards. I also reviewed it to make sure I had included any relevant work experience.

2. Build a portfolio 

With today’s technology, I was lucky enough to find several good website hosts to create an online portfolio. Even if you aren’t a communication major like I was, there are plenty of works that you can include – research projects, PowerPoint presentations or images that show you working in your field.

3. Make job sites part of your web history

I visit job search websites on a daily basis. So far, my favorite is because it lets you upload your résumé and apply directly through the website.

4. Check up on your loans 

After I graduated, I found out that there is a repayment plan that might work best for the unemployed graduate. Income based repayment options take more work because you have to reapply annually, but it adjusts to fit how much money you make and can afford to pay back.

5. Remember to relax 

Job-hunting is a full time job, so take a breather every now and then. Otherwise, you’ll get paranoid about being homeless and unemployed while your student debt piles up.

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