With graduation around the corner and the economy plunging deeper into recession, many students are facing the possibility that they may graduate without full-time jobs. While this is not the ideal scenario, especially for those with student loans, it is not the end of the world.
There are many ways to make money and build your career without a full-time job. Plus, you'll keep busy and you'll be "out there" while continuing to look for a full-time position. Many short-term or part-time gigs also have the potential to lead to more permanent employment situations. The following suggestions may not make sense for everyone, but they might open your eyes to some new possibilities.
Temp. Temporary employment agencies are hurting along with the rest of the economy, but they are still a good option to try. Here's the trick: Register with a few agencies, register in person and follow up regularly (every few days) to see if any opportunities are available. It's common for companies to hire temps into permanent positions, so it's worth the extra effort to win a temporary assignment. Plus, you may gain some experience -- and potential interest -- in a field that you didn't know about previously.
Become an Urban Intern. Urban Interns is an innovative Web site that connects small-business owners and busy professionals with a pool of qualified, college-educated part-time assistants looking for flexible paid or unpaid opportunities. The site just launched in New York City and will be expanding to other metropolitan areas. According to Urban Interns co-founder Cari Sommer, "Urban Interns offers opportunities ranging from assisting with marketing projects, doing online research and customer outreach to running errands and organizing files. When an Urban Intern registers, he or she can dictate what tasks are interesting and hours of availability." As with temping, an urban internship has potential to lead to a full-time opportunity in the future.
Tutor. If you're a college student or recent college grad, you may worry that you don't have enough experience to get a job in this economy. Well, there is one area in which I guarantee you have experience, if not expertise: being a student. Organizations such as Kaplan Test Prep, Princeton Review and local tutoring companies hire most of their staff from the ranks of college grads. Once you get some tutoring work under your belt, you can also take on private clients and charge by the hour.
Freelance. Do you have writing skills from taking writing or English courses? Editing skills from working on your school's newspaper? Coding skills? Graphic design skills? If so, check out freelance marketplace Web sites and bid for some projects. In most places, you can complete the work at night and on the weekends while you focus regular working hours on your job hunt. Check out Web sites such as Guru.com, Elance.com and Craigslist.com to bid for opportunities.
If you do pursue a short-term strategy for making money, remember that you in no way have to give up on your ideal career goals and dreams. While you're trying one (or a few) of the above options, continue to network in your desired industry, attend professional association events, read industry publications and apply to open positions. Good luck!