According to a 2014 report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, 40 per cent of university educated workers aged 25-34 were overqualified for their current position. This can be frightening to new graduates; what’s all that time in school for if it isn’t going to give you an advantage in the labour market?

The key is being prepared.

If you’re stuck in this situation, here are four things that you can do to make the most of your circumstances.

Make the most of your time

Just because you haven’t had any luck so far, it doesn’t mean it will continue to be that way. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, focus your attention on what you could be doing instead.

You can, for example, get to work cleaning up your social media profiles. Are you comfortable having recruiters seeing your Facebook and Twitter accounts. They will look you up, so make sure what you’re sharing is as professional as possible. It’s also a good time to keep working on your resume. Even if you have already written it, you should be tailoring your resume to every job application. You can also always find ways to improve it. Here, for example, are five simple ways to get better results from your resume.

Remember what the philosopher Seneca said: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Opportunities can come from anywhere, and for you to get lucky with them, you need to be prepared.

Take advantage available resources  

Your school’s Career Services department should be your first stop. Aside from career counselling and resume writing tips, they’ll also have the inside track on networking events and upcoming career fairs (if you’re wondering, yes, you should be going to career fairs).

It’s also a good idea to speak to your professors, many of which may still be involved in relevant industries (they might also have industry contacts).

Finally, upload your resume (or create one) on Workopolis. Our resume database is searched over 16,000 times a day by top recruiters across the country, so by allowing employers to find your resume, you can really increase your chances of finding a job.

You can also automate your search with Job Alerts delivered straight to your inbox, which saves you time and keeps you abreast of the latest job postings.

Don’t be picky about any experience you can get

While you may have a very good idea of what kind of job you think you should get, don’t let this restrict you from getting valuable experience. More specifically, you never know what connections you’ll make at an entry-level job or internship. Even if you’re working in the mail room, you might run into someone in the elevator who can help you get where you want to go.

Joyce Kaplan, a business and career coach based in Toronto, advises graduates to seek out actual work experience, even if it seems unrelated.

“We learn from every work experience! If you don’t get a job in your field, look for roles where you’ll gain transferable skills for your ultimate job, build your network, and grow your confidence. With your foot in the door, be a great contributor that brings opportunities within and outside the organization,” she says.

Be patient

While 12.4 per cent of Ontario university graduates were unemployed six months after graduation, this number drops to just 6.4 per cent after two years. More interestingly, the average salary earned six months after graduation was $42,300. After two years, however, that number jumps to $49,000. This suggests that there’s value in being patient … just because nothing has happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t.

Keep searching for jobs, improving your resume, applying, and networking; good things will come. As Kaplan explains: “Employers know the job market is challenging, and it can take time for grads to get that first job … so stay positive, and be clear about what distinguishes you from others. Add to what you offer through project work, volunteer experience, self-study/online certifications, and looking after your physical and emotional well-being. And of course – network!”

Good luck!


Maxwell Arnold is a Consulting student at George Brown College.


See also:

3 ways to prepare your job search before you graduate

6 online resources to help boost your career

Research reveals how your tattoos affect your chances of getting the job


– Follow Workopolis on Twitter

– Sign up for the Workopolis Weekly newsletter

– Listen to Safe for Work, the Workopolis podcast