Didn’t get a job after graduation? Here’s what to do next.

job after graduation

No one likes rejection. Whether it’s delivered by the company of your dreams or a company you didn’t care much for, rejection stings.

After a string of countless applications and interviews that have led to zero job offers, it’s easy for a new graduate to feel discouraged and disheartened. However, there are many different options for improving your chances at a finance career if you didn’t get a job after graduation.

1. Look for an internship

Internships aren’t just for college students. Even post-grad, internships are an excellent way to fill the gap in your resume during your job search, while providing relevant field experience. It will also help you create a professional network that you can maintain and grow throughout your career.

An internship is an excellent way to get your foot in the door of a company. Many hire internally, extending job offers to interns if they exceed expectations and mesh well into the company’s culture.

2. Get certified

Adding a certification like a CPA or CFA to your resume is a great way to push yourself to the top of a hiring manager’s list. Though preparing for the exams will take time and energy, they are fairly affordable. The CPA costs anywhere from $700-$1000 and the CFA offers discounts, making the fee as low as $2400. Getting your CPA or CFA is more than worth it as it adds a level of distinction and provides you with instant industry recognition.

Down the road, getting certified could mean a higher salary, the chance to land a job in a variety of industries, and even the opportunity to start your own accounting firm (you could be your own boss one day!).

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3. Go back to school

For many recent graduates, the idea of going back to school after just finishing four years of late night studying, exams, and group projects makes them groan. However, getting your graduate degree will help advance your career, build an integrated business network and lead to better career opportunities.

Although MBAs hold an approximate 95% employment rate, there are other graduate programs you can consider as well. Many business schools also offer various Master of Science (M.S.) programs in finance, economics and management fields that can provide more concentrated courses in your field of study. Some of the more well-known master’s programs include the Master of Finance (MSF), Master of Accountancy (MAcc) and Master of Management Studies (MMS).

Earning your JD is also an option since it can help differentiate you from other finance professionals. In fact, applicants with JDs are typically regarded as better candidates for senior management as they have a greater understanding of regulations, timelines, and other concepts that intersect both the legal and business worlds. According to US News, 46 of the Fortune 500 leader hold JDs.

4. Diversify your background

When you get down to it, something is better than nothing. On a resume, one of the worst things a candidate can have is a large gap. Even if you aren’t able to find a job or internship in the finance field, don’t be afraid to diversify your interests and keep working. In fact, many CEOs in the finance industry today started their careers far from Wall Street.

Jeffrey Solomon, CEO of Cowen and Company, originally moved to New York to become an actor and Philippe Laffont, Founder of Coatue Management, traded technology stocks in his basement before becoming one of the 40 highest-earning hedge fund managers.

Phil McConkey, President of Academy Securities, spent five years in the Navy before playing for the NFL and winning a Super Bowl with the NY Giants. Only after broadcasting for CBS Sports and FOX NY did he make the transition to Wall Street.

The most important thing to remember after receiving a job rejection is to realize you still have other options. Keep your resume up to date, continue to apply for jobs, and don’t be afraid to pursue other routes in the meantime.