If the glow of receiving that shiny, new college degree has worn off and you’re left with a mountain of student loan debt and no job (or you have a job that doesn’t pay well), there are a few things you can do to keep your finances intact.
Several factors are affecting the job market: the unstable economy, outsourcing, and baby boomers delaying retirement. The unemployment rate for new college grads as of October 2011 (the most recent data available) was 12.6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s double the rate for the general population (6.7% in February).
The odds might seem stacked against you, but you can overcome them.
- Consider moving back home. Live with your parents until you get back on your feet. Once you are financially stable, consider getting a roommate so you can share expenses.
- Freelance or seek temporary work. Temp or freelance work will help you pay the bills until you find full-time work. Your school’s career center can point you in the right direction. “It’s a matter of focusing on short-term survival while remaining poised to move ahead,” says Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder, a certified college planning specialist and author of The Unemployed College Graduate’s Survival Guide and The New College Reality (Adams Media; $14.95).
• Relocate. Go where your skills are in demand and cost of living is low. Sperling’s Best Places is a good place to begin your search. “Go somewhere remote, build your resume, come back with valuable job experience and then go where you want to be at a higher level,” says Snyder. She also recommends seeking opportunities abroad. Websites such as Go Abroad and Transitions Abroad display job listings for those looking to work overseas.
• Don’t rely on credit. Resist the urge to use credit cards to pay for items when money is tight. Before you know it, you will have dug a hole that will be very hard to get out of.