How Long Does It Take College Graduates To Find A Job (and how to get one much sooner)

It is estimated that about 53% of college graduates are either unemployed or working in fields that have nothing to do with their college major.

According to a study done by the University of Washington, it takes an average of three to six months of active job searching for a college graduate to find a job. 

I got my first job exactly three months after finishing college even before I graduated.

The length of time obviously varies from person to person depending on many of the factors listed below.


The factors that will determine how soon you get a job after college are:


Look for a job that is close even if not exactly what you wanted while still continuing to apply and network for the job you want.
A friend of mine is a nurse. She graduated in 2016. According to her, most of her classmates got jobs before finishing the last semester at nursing school.

She got a job one week after handing in her last paper.

Meanwhile, my other friend had an economics degree.

It took him about three months to get a job that had nothing to do with his degree.

Eventually, after three years of moving from job to job, he finally got an economics job.

If you are looking for jobs in entertainment, it may take you even longer.

If you are looking a specific job in a crowded job market, it will take you much longer to get a job.

You have heard that it easier to get a job when you already have a job. In my situation, it was true.

I was able to secure myself a second job through my first boss who recommended me for a higher paying job at another place. That woman is an angel.

If your expertise are in demand, you need to be a little patient. However, other factors also play a role.


To be completely honest, if you have been searching for a while and nothing has materialized, this is probably it.

Sitting at home on your computer and sending applications into the vast void is not a waste a time all the time. Sometimes you may get lucky.

However, a more effective way is to create and use networks to know where to apply and to move your resume to near the top of the pile.

Networking is not that hard or sinister. It is as simple as keeping in touch with people from school, participating in events or activities in your industry and so on.

What I did was tell everyone I knew that I was looking for a job and if they heard anything, they should let me know.

I had been great friends with a few people who were ahead of my class and they actually ended up pointing me in the direction of a company that was hiring. 

Take advantage of technology as well. I mean networking platforms like LinkedIn.


Do not limit your job search to where you live.
There are two sides to this point.

On the one hand some places have a lot going on in specific industries more than others.

You are not going to get many great acting jobs in Idaho. There may be a few but if you want to really make it, you have to move to LA.

On the other hand, if you can, it may do you well to cast a wider net when applying for or considering jobs.

In some industries, good jobs are scattered all over the place. 

Right after I finished college, I moved back home. I applied for jobs in my home town and also in other places.

I ended getting a job in another city. I was lucky that my aunt was living there and I ended up living with her until now. 

Do not limit your job search to where you live.

Also, if you do get a job far away, try to see if the numbers add up before moving.

Consider the pay and the room for growth versus the expenses of moving and the living expenses in that town or city.


Basically are you the person the places you are applying for need.

If you are the second best option, unless their first option declines, you will not get that job.

For example, if you are just applying for job opening that needs years of experience which you do not have, even if you are the best candidate in every other respect, employers will keep bypassing your application.

Even graduates often begin at entry level jobs. Even if you graduated top of your class.

The factors that often determine if you are the person all employers in your industry are looking for are previous experience, do you have a good resume with good referees and finally, are good at job interviews.

In very rare occasions, the college or university you went to will come into play.

Use your resume to show you are the perfect for the job and showcase that in the interview if you get one.


These are often times the people who know all about the vacancies that are not advertised and who have the ears and the trust of employers.

Entertainment or creative jobs thrive on agencies. It is easier to get modeling, acting, photography jobs when working with a good talent agency other than searching on your own.

Most talent agencies hold auditions or look at portfolios before taking people on board.

However, certain traditional jobs can also benefit from head hunters, recruiters and employment agencies.

Before you rule this out as an option, you can do a quick search online to see if there are any in your industry.

I know someone with an engineering degree from a good college who spent about six months working the produce isle at target without any leads on a good job.

Eventually, he decided to get the help of a head hunter who was able to land him a good job within the first month. 

You do not pay head hunters and recruiters. They are paid for successful placements by employers.

It is always a red flag if you are asked to pay money before being placed.

The disadvantage is that most recruiters only deal with senior positions but, as I said earlier, search before you dismiss. 

I would suggest that you focus your energy on networking and becoming more employable.

It will help to cast a wider net when applying for jobs both in regards to location and the types of jobs you are applying for. 

Getting a job is a game of patience. Take job seeking seriously.

Track down leads and take serious time customizing your resume for every application.

Meanwhile, make sure you are spending your time wisely and working on passion projects like starting a YouTube channel or volunteering somewhere.

You can easily fall into post grad depression if you spend most of your time binge watching TV and generally doing nothing productive.