What to do if you can’t find a job after College or University Graduation

So you can’t find a job after college and university graduation?

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Since the end of April, I’ve had a flurry of requests. These are from poor souls that can’t find a job after graduation. The joy of finishing their last exam was short lived as their attention turn to finding a job. Some started earlier, whereas some thought that interviews and offers would start pouring in once they started the application process. Especially since they now could say they had a degree. I put a list of steps to take as guidelines for those that can’t find a job after graduation.

Know what role you want to apply for

As desperate as you may be to get a job, any job, narrowing down your search will help. Also notice that I said role, not title since they are not the same thing. Your title is what is on your business card or signature. Your role is what you actually do day-to-day or otherwise. Using a mix of both the role and the title will allow your searches to be more fruitful.

Leverage job boards and job sites

There are a plethora of job sites out there with the most common that I am aware of being indeed.com, monster.com, workopolis.com, and careerbuilder.com. A few that are Canadian focused are eluta.ca, and jobbank.gc.ca. One that focuses specifically on entry level jobs is talentegg.ca.

For each of the sites, set up alerts using the keywords from the roles that you’ve decided to apply for. Personalize your resume using the FIRM (FOCUS inspired resume model) which is our common feedback.


Leverage your network

Your network is very important especially in the job search. Make sure you Build Meaningful Connections with anyone and everyone you can. Start with family. Move on to friends. Then to classmates, previous coworkers, people you volunteer with. Then to people you meet for your hobbies. You can move on to connections on LinkedIn, or whomever you can find. Be curious about them, and get to know their challenges. Find ways to adding value to them, which is a great way to open more doors to jobs. It would have been ideal if you started connecting prior to your job hunt, but doing so now will help you have another person supporting you in the job hunt.

Here is a listing of people in your network that can help you find a job

  • Friends (see Facebook and LinkedIn networks)
  • Family
  • Old classmates
  • Teachers and professors
  • Old Colleagues
  • Regular commuters around you
  • Your family doctor
  • Hair stylist
  • Family accountant
  • Mechanic
  • Dentist
  • Career Catalyst


For those that are willing to put in the hustle, you could even print a pile of resumes and walk down a street and finding businesses along the way. Step in and ask to speak to the manager and tell them about yourself, see how you can add value and BMC with them as well. Hopefully they’ll be more than happy to take your resume, and if not, keep going down the street of find another street.

Depending on how committed you are applying to jobs is typically a shot in the dark. We know one nursing new grad who had applied to over a 100 hundred jobs a month for about 6 months before getting a job. Our friend recounts the turmoil he had experienced using such an ineffective strategy. His suggestion is to instead use the job board as a starting point to meet people in the industry and talk to hiring managers. Go to the companies and ask to for an appointment with the hiring manager if they are listed on the job board or request for the team leader in the company.

Talk to the CEO

The CEO is the top decision maker in the organization, typically this means a desire make a choice and then move on. This means that having a conversation with a CEO could mean at least an interview or meeting with one of his team members. Ideally everyone would want to talk to a CEO but the challenge is getting connected, either through email or a phone number.

We surveyed the best answers on Quora on this questions and found the following tips:

Getting a CEO’s email

Sometimes a company will list an email for customers or applications to send information to. Combining this information and your network connections on LinkedIn can likely land you the CEO’s contact

  1. Note the domain used by the company (i.e. info@webster.com, jobs@smarttech.com) – typically this is listed under the contact us or within a job posting itself
  2. Look at the team bio page and records the name of the directors or CEO first name and last name
  3. If you can’t find names on the team bio try using LinkedIn by searching “company name + role”
  4. Take down their names
  5. Now try different variations of the email by combining their initials, For example our CEO is named John Appleseed and he works at apple.com you would then try and send your email using the following variations
    1. jappleseed@apple.com
    2. john@apple.com
    3. johns@apple.com
  6. Verify that your email was sent. If it wasn’t sent successfully and you receive a bounce back note than your search continues.

Getting the CEO’s Number

Another tactic that we’ve seen get poted on QUORA is reaching the CEO’s desk line here is how:

  • Take down the public company number
  • When you call in there will be a receptionist that answers looking to patch you in
  • Ask to speak to the accounting department
  • Once in the accounting department ask for the CEO or leader’s number
  • If you only get an extension combine the extension with their phone number. For example is the company phone is 416-222-5555
    • Hang up then enter the phone number along with extension
    • Or try changing the last 3-4 digits to be the extension provided : 416-222-xxxx or 416-222-1xxx

Tip: it is best to try this method by using a well crafted email instead of sending a random note. Be sure to introduce yourself, your interest in the company, and what you can offer.

Reduce your spending – Save $580/month

Here are the top ways to reduce monthly expenses that can help sustain you during the job hunt

  • Consider taking out data from your monthly phone bill: save $20-40/month
  • Cook at home instead of eating out: $50-100/week
  • Buy beer/alcohol from stores: $10-20/meal
  • Move to a lower cost rent location: save $300-500/month
  • Cancel your internet and goto the library: save $50-70/month

If you follow these simple and manageable steps your total cost savings a month could be about: $580 a month

Avoid the itch of going back to school

Before you go back to school talk to someone you trust or a career catalyst. The problem with going back to school is that you may end up spending another $20,000-$40,000 dollars on a degree. But only to end up in the same situation you are in now! Even though school seems like an alternative it is actually a very poor investment unless you are thinking of highly regulated fields like: dentistry, law, medicine, etc.

Do work on spec

For any of the people you’ve met where they share their challenges, you can put together something that outlines how you could help them solve it. Think of what you might do for a case competition, but in this case for a real-life scenario. Put together a professional deliverable outlining with something as simple as your understanding of the problem, the analysis you did, potential options and your recommendation. Send it to the person and see what they say.

Reflect and adjust

Einstein said “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” is the definition of insanity. Take the time out to reflect on what you feel went well and what did not go so well. Then adjusting to do more of what went well and less of what did not. Getting an external opinion would be helpful as well.

Don’t give up!

If you can’t find a job after graduation, then perhaps you haven’t spent long enough. The average job hunt takes 3-6 months. If you need to, then seek out some professional help. Feel free to reach out if we could be of help info@focusinspired.com or find a recruiter.

Best of luck!

Consider Getting a Career Catalyst

A Career Catalyst not only helps you plan your job search but can also be a timely source of support and reinforcement. A Career Catalyst can help you stay on track and keep you accountable. If you know whats keeping you from getting a job is simply consistency and effort, consider getting one soon before hiring season wanes.

ABOUT FOCUS inspired

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