What can students do to improve their chances of finding employment after college?

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There is a myth that if you have a college degree, you have a job. The fact is that approximately 53% of college graduates are unemployed or working in a job that doesn't require a bachelor's degree. It takes the average college graduate three to six months to secure employment after graduation. A student benefits from having a career-seeking strategy and previous work experiences. Otherwise, her resume might be lost in a stack of hundreds for a specific job.

Career planning and preparation should occur throughout students' academic studies. They do not need to settle on one area to pursue right away, and they can change directions. However, students should be sure to prepare for the long run - for their lifelong careers or multiple careers. The following is a list of steps that students can consider:

  • Clarify your academic and career interests; learn about opportunities in challenging fields, such as business, engineering, mathematics, and technology.
  • Develop self-determination, self-advocacy, and work-readiness skills.
  • Learn about rights to accommodations and how to determine appropriate academic and job accommodations.
  • Understand when and how to disclose your disability in school and job settings.
  • Learn how to use computers, electronic communications, and Internet resources to increase your independence and productivity while pursuing a career.
  • Access campus and community career development services and activities.
  • Access campus and community resources for academic and employment support.
  • Develop a support network of other students with disabilities and adult mentors. Your network will provide contacts for employment after graduation.
  • Consider work-based learning opportunities.

AccessCAREERS helps students with disabilities prepare for careers through presentations, workshops, meetings, work experiences, one-to-one guidance, and printed and videotaped resources.

Last update or review: January 24, 2013