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What to do after college: 4 options for your next move.

School’s out forever — which means it’s time to enter the working world. Explore your options for how you can start your job search and plan your life after college.

Post-college career tips for recent graduates.

  • Pursue an internship to network with potential employers.
  • Skip the job hunt entirely and start your own business.
  • Take a gap year to gain life experience and soft skills.

Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life.

Now that your time as a college student is over, the real world awaits. But the environment for first-time job seekers is drastically different now than it was even a few years ago, as millions of employees quit their jobs in search of something better during the Great Resignation.

 

As potential employers fiercely compete to recruit, employ, and retain the best talent by offering higher salaries and more generous benefits, recent graduates about to start their careers have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to find work that’s both fulfilling and lucrative. As you get ready for the next chapter of your life, explore the following options for how you can make the job market work for you.

A recent college graduate getting a walk-through of a workplace
A college graduate using a notebook and their laptop to research job opportunities

1. Find an internship

Lots of grads pursue internships after college as a way to start learning skills and building relationships at a company or in a particular field where they’d like to work. Although many internships are unpaid, under the right circumstances they can be a valuable opportunity to shadow a more experienced employee and learn directly about how the workplace functions.

 

That said, not all internships are created equal. If you find yourself in an internship where you’re doing nothing but making coffee or cleaning up the office for no pay, you might be better off seeking an entry-level job somewhere else. In today’s tight labor market, employees have unprecedented leverage to seek out fair compensation.

2. Begin your job search.

Once you begin looking for a full-time job, don’t expect it to be a quick process. Most experts agree that you should plan to spend between three and six months job hunting. Because of the time spent browsing job listings on sites like LinkedIn and filling out applications, looking for a job can be just as time consuming as having a job.

 

You’ll want to create a resume and cover letter using an app like Adobe Acrobat, and gather any work samples or portfolio items you’d like to show a potential employer. Acrobat can help you manage all these documents and combine them into a single PDF to easily share with recruiters. And if you need to update your resume or cover letter with some new skills or work experience, you can use Acrobat to directly edit a PDF and make changes on the fly.

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3. Start your own business.

Another time-tested option is to start working for yourself. If you’ve got an idea for a product or service that nobody else is offering, it’s easier than you’d think to go from recent college grad to CEO of your own company.

 

When you’re researching the paperwork you need to file to start a business, you can use an app like Acrobat to save the necessary forms to Adobe's cloud storage, where you can fill and sign them digitally to save on print costs. If you’re putting together a business plan, Acrobat makes it easy to gather multiple documents and merge them into a single PDF for simple sharing and presentation. And if you design a logo for your company, it’s no sweat to add it to each page of your company’s documents to burnish your brand. 

A college student sitting on the floor in front of their couch and using their laptop

4. Take some time to explore.

You don’t need to figure out your new career immediately. Many recent graduates take a gap year between finishing school and entering the working world to pick up some new life experiences to help enrich their job skills. This could include:

 

  • Backpacking around the world
  • Writing a novel
  • Starting a podcast
  • Learning graphic design
  • Teaching English abroad
  • Working as a nanny or au pair
  • Learning a new language
  • Volunteering

Spending some time to explore your own dreams and goals can add a lot of clarity and purpose to your job search. But it’s also an opportunity for you to learn new skills that can help make your resume stand out when it’s time to get a job.

 

It can be a challenge to find a career path after getting your college degree. But with proper preparation and organization, you can find great success in the post-pandemic job market.

 

Learn how Adobe Acrobat can enhance your job search

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