When You Don't Know What to Do After Graduation

So. It's your senior year of college - the countdown to graduation has officially begun. But, people seem to only ask you one thing: what are your plans after graduation? That can be a scary question, especially if you have no idea how to answer it. The good news is, there are so many opportunities out there for you no matter if you are a history major or a computer science major - you just have to be willing to go out and find them. Here are a few simple steps if you’re feeling overwhelmed about the idea of life after graduation:

1. Take a deep breath, and don’t panic

First of all, relax. This is a scary time, and it can be totally overwhelming if you try to sit down and define your future all in one sitting. It’s not 2008, and for the most part there really are jobs out there for college graduates. The competition is fierce these days so the job certainly isn’t going to fall in your lap without a little effort, but they are out there.

2. Google your favorite companies

By this, I don’t mean highly successful corporate giants that have fancy names (unless that’s what you’re in to, in which case more power to you) – I literally mean your favorite brands. Do you love Coach purses, or Nike shoes, or Totino’s Pizza Rolls? Great. Read Buzzfeed articles or watch millionaire YouTube stars’ videos for 2 hours every night before bed? Perfect. All of those companies need marketing people, salespeople, researchers, scientists, just about anything that may interest you. Google the companies, find out where their headquarters are, and take a look through their Career pages. You may be surprised at what you find!

3. Apply for grad school

You may be totally and completely 100% OVER school by now – which is fine! But, you never know what you’ll want in a year or where you’ll be with your career and your goals. All applying does is give you the choice – if you decide in April that you want to go to grad school in the fall but you didn’t apply last October, you may be limited on options. Life is about making choices now so that you have choices down the road – you never want to limit yourself by forcing a certain path too early on. Many schools will even waive the application fee if you attend one of their webinars!

4. Widen your search parameters

If you’re already searching for jobs but seem to be coming up short, try widening your search parameters. For example, if you are searching “entry level financial coordinator in Seattle,” that may be a bit too specific. Try “finance jobs in the Seattle area” or even just “financial coordinator” with no location limitations – you may be surprised at a new location that interests you or new opportunities that arise by changing around your search terms. After all, you can apply to 100 companies in search of one job, so don’t limit yourself!

5. Make a list of places you want to travel

Finally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the adult decisions facing you, try taking a break and making a list of places you want to travel in your lifetime. It may inspire you to start saving for a trip, apply for a job oversees, look for volunteer opportunities in your bucket list countries, or even just give you a small reprieve from the job hunt.

Most of all – don’t stress. As long as you put in the work, everything always works out – and when it doesn’t, mistakes happen that teach you lifelong lessons and make you a stronger, smarter version of yourself. Happy hunting!