8 Things to Do If You’re Unemployed with a College Degree

Broke with a degreeA study I recently read stated that nearly half of recent college graduates have jobs that do not require a college diploma. What does this mean? That many twenty-somethings have $20,000-$100,000 worth of debt and are still working for next to minimum wage.

This is bad news, especially if you find yourself in this category. Looking for work, with the pressures of student debt on your shoulders, is a stress that past generations have not had to experience.

If you find yourself unemployed, with a college degree, all is not lost. You can still launch your career by pursuing one (or several) of the following activities:

Start a Blog

No, this is not to a way to replace your income – especially not overnight. However, it is a way to develop a portfolio of content to show to potential employers. Start writing about a topic relevant to your desired career and send a link to the blog with every application.

The average online job application receives over 250 applicants. Therefore, you need to set yourself apart. Two valuable ways to do this is to have something to show employers (like a blog), and to network like crazy. By writing about subjects you are passionate about, and interacting with other related bloggers online, you can make yourself very appealing to potential employers.

Pick Up a New Major

Sometimes it’s necessary to go back to school. Suddenly, you’ve discovered that your degree in art history isn’t going to give you the job you’ve dreamed of. Therefore, going back to school can be a good idea.

However, make sure that your next degree is one that will give you a job. One great alternative is an accelerated nursing degree – which allows a college graduate to become an RN after just 12 months of classes.

Pursue a Masters or PhD

If your undergraduate degree fails to open the doors necessary for your desired career, pursue higher education. A masters degree can give you opportunities that you would not have otherwise.

On the flip side, some masters’ degrees, if not matched with work experience, can make you over educated and underqualified for your dream job. Therefore, do your homework before jumping into an advanced degree.

Do Freelance Work

When I was between jobs, I began writing online – and made $50+ an hour! Most skills can be interpreted into some type of freelance work – if you can write, draw, design, photograph, you can make money by freelancing online.

Furthermore, if you scroll through the bizarre jobs posted on, you may find another brilliant activity you can do to financially support yourself.

Find a Job That Doesn’t Require a College Degree

There are many high-paying jobs that do not require a college degree. You may want to consider getting a certification or license that will allow you to work in another field. Truckers, for example, can make $50,000 a year. Although you don’t need to keep this job forever, it certainly is beneficial to make some money while you’re figuring out what to do as a career.

Teach English Abroad

Anyone with a college diploma can teach English in Korea. I have had several friends who have taught English, and I have considered it myself. Although the arrangements differ slightly, most of these positions will cover your airfare, housing, AND pay you around $1,500-$2,000/month. Many teachers are able to save $1,000+ a month while working in Korea.

Why be boring and broke in the US when you can be employed, adventurous, and respected in another country?

Volunteer Yourself Into Work

I have known multiple people who have volunteered themselves into a dream job – including my cousin. A talented graphic designer, he volunteered with a nonprofit for a semester after college. Before the (unpaid) internship came to a close, the nonprofit offered him a fulltime job.

Volunteering does two things for you. First, it adds something valuable to your resume. Showing that you have volunteered for six months is much better than saying that you were sitting around looking for a job. Secondly, it gives potential employers an opportunity to get to know you. By volunteering, the company is able to evaluate how well you mesh with their organization.

Marry for Money

I initially placed this on the list as a joke. However, I’ve realized that it may be more serious of an option than I initially thought! Although this is usually considered an option for the good looking, you could still marry for money – even if you aren’t a hottie.

If you are great at making people feel valuable (or a talented con-artist), it is possible to find a spouse who is willing to financially support you in exchange for your emotional support. Although I would not recommend marrying someone purely for money, a smart marriage can make a world of difference for your future.


Rob is enthusiastic about everything related to money and investing. A financial analyst and instructor, he enjoys using what he’s learned from 10 years of studying business and money to help others achieve financial stability. He founded Money Nomad in 2014!

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  1. The biggest of all, start your own venture. In this era you can start business from your home and without much capital. I think its a great opportunity to bring out the hidden entrepreneur we all have inside.

    1. That’s a great point (and one that certainly needs to be included). If no one else will hire you, then hire yourself! And it’s amazing how relatively simple it can be to start finding clients. Thanks for your input!

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