So you’ve finally managed to graduate college with that fancy four year (or more) degree; you shuffled through majors, took one for the team in terms of study and homework, and will probably need to put off vacation dreams with the amount of debt you’ve managed to rack up. But you saw the light at the end of the tunnel and you made it through to find…
If you’re like a lot of today’s college graduates, you might be surprised and a little disheartened to discover that businesses weren’t holding the day open for you when you left school. In fact, because of the economic downturn, trying to find a job in today’s climate is a lot tougher, even with a degree. In days past, college graduates could probably find something along the lines of entry level before either moving up or on to their career of choice.
Now of course, with the US facing a still high 7.2% of unemployment and a whopping 14% when it comes to the underemployed, trying to find an entry level position in which you don’t already need three years of experience or worse, working somewhere that’s beneath your career experience is like trying to find gold in 1800s. So what do you do?
I mentioned a while back about the different alternatives to finding that corporate job – starting a business, volunteering, or freelancing. Freelancing and consulting has gotten some major props since the economy collapse; many businesses are hiring freelancers in order to set aside the cost for hiring someone full time, while the Internet has given rise to virtual and telecommuting employees in terms of online work.
There are actually some good pros to freelancing on the side – in many cases, you’re basically using your talent for money. For instance, if you’re a tech whiz, you could freelance by giving out computer or technology advice; consider that the continuing growth of mobile technology, coupled with social media is the newest thing businesses are hitting on. Know Facebook like the back of your hand? Post to Pinterest like a pro? Businesses are looking for people like that.
Perhaps you got a dreaded arts degree, like in music. Oh, you may have talent, but a corporate job doesn’t care how many instruments you can play or your vocal range; but there are people who have a singer in their heart and might want to learn. Why do you think Rock Band and Guitar Hero are so popular? There’s a market for piano lessons for beginners, especially in the New York area. There are plenty of budding Mozarts and Beethovens who are looking to get a head start on their musical aspirations.
There are downsides to freelancing – just as if you were starting your own business, freelancing doesn’t immediately take off. There’s a reason many experts will tell you to start this on the side and not quit your day job until you have enough cash in the bank. This is because of the ‘feast or famine’ of freelancing – when the months are good, pay is good; when it gets slow, pay is bad or nonexistent.
Freelancing is a great way to make some money on the side, especially if you’re only doing a part time job or a full time one that isn’t paying as much. You’ll find there are many professional freelancers – writers, blogger, social media advice folks – that left their job in order to do what they liked and loved. It’s definitely an idea to consider if you’re drifting through your after college life.