Unless you’re working on campus, it can be hard to find a job as a college student, and often even harder to find one as a college grad. Unfortunately this isn’t the model most of us bet on. After all, isn’t the idea of going to college that it should both prepare you for a career and also make you readily employable? The idea that college leads to career advancement may not be a thing of the past. Instead, we now face what’s known as the gig economy.
While a lack of jobs tends to be less significant among those who study health careers and computer science, it remains a problem across the board. Here’s what you need to know to survive – and eventually thrive – in the gig economy.
Part Time Problems
When you’re in college, you most likely don’t want to work more than a part time job. That’s understandable – you’re carrying a lot of responsibility – and it’s also a relatively easy concept to navigate. Part time jobs are a long acknowledged employment category alongside full-time employment and increasingly such categories as the internship. Job listing are broken down in this way to accommodate those who can’t or don’t want to work full time.
You’ll likely have to apply to many part-time jobs, even if you consider yourself overly qualified for them. Now isn’t the time to focus on breaking into your field. Instead, think about college employment as part of the bigger picture. You want to build positive professional field relationships on campus while building your reputation as a good worker elsewhere. Both of these things will benefit you post graduation.
But post-graduation, part time work may not be sustainable anymore. You’ll need something more. This is where you need to understand the gig economy.
The gig economy is largely populated by those working as independent contractors. It gives you a lot of control over your work, but that work isn’t always consistent and is often not what you went to college to study. That’s okay. It may not be ideal, but don’t dismiss the gig economy out of hand.
Many people think that the gig economy may be the economic model of the 21st century, particularly as a site of innovation. While working gigs, many recent grads work on polishing their resumes, find an area where they want to live, or continue to explore their interest. Others, however, question the lack of benefits and security that come with gigs. As an unfamiliar, less stable employment model, many worry about what comes next.
If you’re currently in college or about to graduate, your best bet is to embrace the gig economy. There are many options and gigs can often open up networking opportunities – such as driving for Uber and talking to dozens of people a day or building relationships with a field of interest while you learn needd skills you missed out on in college.
Most importantly, as a recent college grad, don’t commit the cardinal sin of deciding gigs are beneath you. They may not be the dream, but with diligence they can pay the bills. Your willingness to accept reality and responsibility speaks volumes about your maturity and potential in the ever evolving job market.