Imagine preparing to have your college diploma in hand soon, and while you’re excited, you’re understandably nervous. You’ve heard it can be hard to find a job quickly after graduation! But with that degree, you’ll be transitioning into adulthood – this is the moment you’ve been preparing for your whole life.

Finding a job can be tough right after graduating college. The market for entry-level jobs is often competitive, with graduates all jockeying for positions that will further their careers. What makes it worse is that many graduates will have to soon begin repaying student loans which adds onto the pressure to secure a role.

On average, it takes college graduates three to six months to find a job after receiving their diploma.

During that time, costs are piling up. You may have student loans, rent, or even a car payment. And, you know, food. If you’re worried about making it six months before landing a job, there are ways to find work faster.

Why People Struggle Finding a Job

Finding a job isn’t easy and there can be many reasons you’re having trouble landing one. Some may include:

  • Not knowing what to look for: Before starting your search, narrow your scope to what you would like to be doing and what your career objectives are. Give those jobs your highest priority while conducting your search.
  • Not being prepared: Your resume should be updated and ready to send out at a moment’s notice. You should have a cover letter sample ready for tweaking, too. And when you do get an interview, anticipate the questions that will be asked and come up with answers ahead of time so you’ll sound polished.
  • Not applying for enough jobs: Apply for any job you think you are moderately qualified for, instead of only the ones you’re a perfect fit for. All you’ll be out is some time, and you never know what doors might open up if you try.
  • Lack of experience: If you have no work experience yet whatsoever, you could be in for a rough time. If this sounds like you, highlight some volunteering positions you might have had in your past instead.
  • Not tailoring your resume to a specific position: You should have a basic resume that you modify for each job you seek. You should think about what part of your resume makes you qualified for each job you apply to and emphasize that portion.
  • Not knowing where to look: Scour newspapers, job boards, online networking sites, and maximize your outreach efforts with every contact you have. Make sure you’re exhausting all the opportunities for finding work out there.

6 Ways to Find a Job Quickly After Graduation

By smartly pursuing work, you’ll be more efficient and effective. That can translate to landing a job sooner. Here’s what you can do to tip the odds in your favor.

1. Start Networking.

Let all your contacts know you’re looking for work. This can open some doors. Until you find work, networking should be your job. Update your LinkedIn profile, reach out to well-connected family members… anything to get the ball rolling!

2. Do some market research.

Get googling and try to understand the industries that interest you. What are the major trends and who are the big players? This can lead you to discover companies you that weren’t previously on your radar. It can help you target a company you’d love to work at and may be well-suited for. But what if they aren’t hiring? If you feel you’re the perfect candidate, send them a letter of interest and see if they reply. This can help you build rapport with an insider who can help get you noticed when the right opportunity for you opens up.

3. Expand your job search.

If you’re still struggling to find something in the field you want,  consider branching out a bit. By widening your job scope or being willing to relocate, you’ll increase the overall number of opportunities available to you, improving your chances.

4. Create a LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool when used to its full potential. And it’s for more than just having a way to tout how many people you know. 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find potential candidates. If you’re not on the platform, you’re missing in action.

5. Take an internship.

A well-performed internship can lead to a job offer. You might be able to stay on full-time with a company if you prove your worth during it. But even if you don’t, internships provide valuable experience that help round out your resume.

6. Take on a volunteer position.

If you have some extra time on your hands, consider volunteering somewhere to pad your resume. Plus, as an upside, you’ll be making new networking contacts.

Job hunting is a source of stress that everyone goes through at some point. And although it can be tough, there are ways to boost your odds of success and to make it easier.

By sticking to these outlined tips, you’ll improve your chances to find a job quickly after graduation. The main thing is to keep going – don’t get discouraged. Eventually, your perseverance and hard work will pay off.

This blog was written in partnership with Andy Kearns of LendEdu, which helps you learn about and compare financial products so you can make confident decisions about your future.