Not Sure What to Do After Graduation? Try Freelancing

Lots of students graduate from university, still not 100% sure what it is they want to do career-wise. Sometimes you have early success, and the first job that you take then defines the career path that you will follow. Many other times however, the career path zigzags, and it may be some time before you know exactly what you’ll be doing. If you’re not sure what to do after graduation, you might want to try freelancing.

There are a number of reasons why freelancing should be considered as an option:

There’s Not Always a Job Waiting at Graduation

Not Sure What to Do After Graduation
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The job market has become much more selective than it once was, and it’s not at all unusual for university graduates to have difficulty finding employment. This is especially true following graduation, since the market is usually at least somewhat glutted with new graduates looking for jobs. The situation is even more competitive if the economy is in recession, and job simply aren’t available.

Related: MMFBT 012 – Miranda Marquit: How to Become a Freelance Writer

If you can’t get a job immediately after graduation, freelancing may help to fill void. It will give you an opportunity to work in your desired career field – at least in some capacity, however limited – and that may help you to generate income while you’re looking for something permanent.

Getting Experience While You’re Looking for That Perfect Job

No matter what the state of the economy, a lack of hands-on experience is often the reason graduates can’t find jobs, except in the most in-demand majors. Freelancing could be one of the best ways to gain that experience.

Most employers understand and expect that new graduates will have little or no experience. But adding at least some hands-on experience to your degree could be the combination that lands you the job that you want. While freelancing may not represent a full-time position, it can provide you with experience in at least certain aspects of the career you hope to enter.

Related: 5 Advantages to Building a Freelance Business in School

Sometimes even being able to drop some names, claim hands-on experience in one or two areas, and know some buzzwords makes all the difference in landing a full-time position. Though it may not seem like much, it positions you well ahead of other graduates with no such experience at all.

Helping You to Find Exactly What it is You Want to Do

If you are not exactly sure what it is you want to do as a career, freelancing can help you find your way. Let’s say that you have a degree in a major that is somewhat generic, like business management. You want to get into management somewhere, but you’re not exactly sure where that somewhere is.

By freelancing with different businesses, you may find that you have a preference for a certain industry, or even for certain areas of management. It is even conceivable that your freelance experience will show you that management isn’t really want to be in at all. You may decide instead you’d rather be in marketing or public relations. While a business management degree will help you get into those career fields, you may never have known about them had you never freelanced.

You Might Actually Like Freelancing – Building Your Own Business

It seems that most university graduates are planning on a career in some form of employment. Few students ever go to school to prepare for self-employment, perhaps because entrepreneurship is not an area of coursework typically found in universities. But if there is an inner entrepreneur in you, freelancing may help you to find what it is you’re looking for.

Related: Becoming a Freelance Writer and Building a Portfolio

When you’re freelancing, you are essentially self-employed. Though you may be working directly for one or more employers, each represents a client to you, and not a formal employer. You’re free to take on numerous freelance clients, and if you can, you will be effectively self-employed – even if only at a low level.

The point is, once you find that you can get clients on your own, you may determine that you don’t want a job. Most people are fearful at the very prospect of being self-employed, at least until they’ve sampled it and determinated that it’s actually doable for them. Freelancing can provide you with that opportunity. And if things go from better to better, you can easily decide to combine work with travel and work from other countries that provide cheaper rent and a better life for the money you get.

Not everyone is cut out to be a freelancer, and certainly not all will become self-employed. But the point is, freelancing can open up opportunities, particularly if you’re unable to land a full-time position upon graduation. It represents something you can do – something that’s very positive – while you’re working on finding that full-time position that will officially launch the start of your career.

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That’s sort of what I did after graduation. I did odd gigs on film sets and was an on-call teleprompter to make money until I landed a full-time job. It was great because it kept me busy, kept my spirits up, and I learned some valuable life experiences along the way.

Odd gigs on film sets is kind of cool – anything big?

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