Surviving the job market: a how-to guide

Below is an article I wrote for The Signal, Georgia State University’s newspaper. As a recent college graduate I look forward to taking some on my own advice.


As we are all beginning to realize, there is a good chance that companies will not be anxiously breaking down our doors with job offers when we graduate. The job market is in the tanks and it is all taking place with us on the brink of graduating college, go figure. We have devoted the last four years (or more) to prepare for the working world, and now that world may not be ready for us. However, all is not lost. There are several alternatives that students can participate in while waiting for this transient, vicious period in the job market to pass.

While these alternatives may not all lead to paychecks, they may be great ways to gain experience and have a little fun while we wait for this unpromising job market to make a comeback. First, lets all take a moment to appreciate our parent’s advice of saving money (you have been saving half of every dollar, right?) because that money will come in handy right about now. Even if not, though, many of these tips still work. Here is how to survive the dismal job market:


I know we were all hoping to make the big bucks after college, but an internship may not be a bad idea until then. It’s a great way to stay in the game. You gain more experience and can make some great connections. Who knows, you may even get paid (but don’t count on it). Here are some ideas to help you get started:

1.Turner Broadcasting Company has many opportunities for college students and recent graduates alike. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about the many facets of the television industry.

2.Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta can be a great place to work and gain experience in writing newsletters, event planning, and even public relations.

3.The Georgia Aquarium offers ideal internships for those interested in the public relations field.  You will gain plenty of experience in writing press releases, and assisting in media interviews. Just don’t get lured in by those cute, little penguins (you cannot sneak them home under your jacket).


Who says you have to go straight into the workforce anyway? Earn some life experience by traveling the country, or better yet, the world. Believe it or not, it is possible to explore in an affordable way. Whether you are backpacking through Spain or hiking through Germany, you’ll have a blast. A great way to stretch your dollar is by staying in hostels. They are really cheap and occupied by other students doing the exact same thing you are. What employer wouldn’t be impressed that you can order a hamburger in 6 different languages? – This is a great place for traveling, studying, or even working abroad.  It is a great one stop place to answer all of your questions and even figure out which route is best for you.

2. – Frommer’s has been helping people plan trips for years. Research different countries and plan a trip from scratch. Everything from where to stay to what to eat will be found here.

3. – Here you can find the backpacker’s ultimate guide. It has discussion boards, destination guides, and even hostel reviews. This is a great place to visit if you’re even considering backpacking throughout your travels.


Roll up those sleeves and do some good in your free time. Employers love to see the ways you’ve contributed to your community. You canvolunteer at a soup kitchen or become a big brother or sister. You’ll gain a unique kind of experience. Not to mention, you’ll get that warm and fuzzy feeling that money can’t buy.

1. – Here you can figure out which type of service is right for you. Not too fond of emptying bed pans, but love to work with your hands? No problem. Hands On Atlanta offers you a variety of volunteer opportunities so that you can pick which one is best for you.

2. Habitat for Humanity is a place where you help build affordable, green homes for families who need them. You don’t need any experience and can make a big difference. You may even learn a few things to take back to your home.

3. – Are you an animal lover? If so, PAWS Atlanta is the place for you. You can spend your days with dogs and cats that desperately need affection and care. You can also be a part of placing abandoned animals in loving homes. Just resist the urge to buy four acres and adopt them all yourself.

Stay Sharp

Remember that whatever you decide to do during this slump, make sure to keep your skills sharp. Document your experiences, improve your knowledge, and more than anything don’t give up. Whether you choose to take the ideas listed above or not, be sure not to lie dormant. Make sure you have something great to offer an employer when you do get that interview.

1. http:/ – Write about the economy, write a movie review, or write about your Aunt Gloria’s new doily collection. Here is a great place to start your very own blog. It’s super easy and a great place to keep your thoughts in order.

Published by Ashley Zoerner

I'm originally from New Orleans, LA and grew up in the nearby town of Waveland, MS. I graduated from Georgia State University with a communications degree in 2010. Since then I've traveled the country and world meeting the most interesting people. My dream is to tell people's stories and share my passions with the world.

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