You’ve finished your degree and now what? Obviously, you want a job… or do you? What are your options?

1. Earn another degree or a professional qualification
Pros – gives you a year or two before you need to find a job. That could be a plus in this economy if you choose a degree that makes you more valuable. An MFA in film history is fabulous, but will it pay the bills!
Cons – increases your student loan tab unless someone else pays. Consider teaching, some states or counties will pay for your credential. Look into government programs which enable you to build skills. AmeriCorps pays for college in exchange for you committing to volunteer. Free education plus experience can’t be bad. Think about military service, a respected credential which can increase marketable skills and pays for college after.

2. Take time off
Pros – travel or working abroad, for example, can be valuable experience to an employer. You understand another culture, learn a language and make friends, which can last a lifetime.
Cons – if your traveling was only from the couch to the refrigerator you will have to explain to an employer what you were doing, how this makes you more marketable and why your parents let you take time off on their dime.

3. Volunteer
Pros – volunteering can be a profound experience and one that many employers value. The Peace Corps or Teach For America programs are both seen as big plusses in your career.
Cons – you may be so inspired by your experience that you want to give up your investment banking career plans to become a shepherd in Uzbekistan -- thereby making your $100,000 Ivy League education redundant and your parents ticked off!

4. Start your own business
Pros – it’s easier to get rich running your own business than working for someone else. An Internet-based business doesn’t need much capital and can grow fast. Even a more traditional business, such as a retail store, can be profitable.
Cons – Building a profitable business is difficult; hours are endless and many fail. You need to be good at sales and marketing. If you love fashion and open a boutique but you hate business you won’t be happy. It’s usually better to explore your desired field for a couple years as an employee while someone else pays you a salary to learn the ropes.

5. Think big! Leaving college doesn’t mean that you have to settle for the first job that comes along. You have your whole lifetime.

I lived in Japan for four years after college and it was one of the best times of my life. I learned how to do business (and party) in Japanese, experienced what it is like to live in another culture including understanding the differences between Buddhism and the Japanese religion Shintoism, as well as how to eat Nato - fermented soy beans that smell like blue cheese - and made friends that I still have today 20 years later!

Author's Bio: 

David Couper is a career coach and writer who for the last twenty years has worked in Europe, Asia, and the USA with individuals. 100% of his clients have found either a new job or career which is fulfilling for both their heart and mind.

“After meeting with you, I can now say today, no matter what I do for work or how I earn money to live. I proudly can say that I am an Artist and an Educator. That is what I believe in and what makes my heart sing. I am feeling more grounded in who I truly am. So I am on this journey.”
Artist and Educator, Los Angeles, CA

He has successfully coached men and women wanting to change career or develop new opportunities at all levels - including CEOs of major companies wanting a creative challenge, frustrated souls longing to make their dream come true and front-line employees laid off and desperate to get a job.

"David Couper is an honest and sincere coach and an extra special team player. He's like the diamond player in reserve. When you call on him you can be sure that he is going to play full-out for your success and fully believe in you.”
Interactive Hypnotherapist and Fellow of Royal Society, London, UK

David has a degree in Communication, a postgraduate qualification in education, is certified in a number of training technologies, and has a Masters in Spiritual Psychology. He is a member of the American Society of Training and Development, Society of Human Resources Professional, Writers Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television.

“I love your inspiration. Thank you so much. I plan on sharing it with our sons.” -- Award-winning realtor, Los Angeles, CA

David has published seven books. His works on interpersonal skills, counseling in the workplace, and management issues (published by Connaught, Gower, HRD Press, Longman, Macmillan/Pearson Publishing, Oxford University Press) have been translated into Swedish, Polish, and Danish, and published in the UK and the USA.

“Love the work you are doing with X. You really nailed him (in the resume). Very nice work, David.”
Executive, Disney, Burbank, CA

He has dual US/UK citizenship and speaks French and Japanese.

“David offered both advice and encouragement, helping me to understand and adjust to the new context. I have no doubt that his support was vital to my success on that occasion. Without it, would have lacked the confidence required to carry on with what was a very daunting environment.” -- Training Manager and Employee of the Year, Consulting Company, Paris, France

Additional Resources covering Career Change can be found at:

Website Directory for Career Change
Articles on Career Change
Products for Career Change
Discussion Board
David Couper, the Official Guide To Career Change