It’s finally over. You’ve graduated. The long nights at the library (followed by even longer ones at the bar), the horrible diet, and the ridiculous amount of work you put in for four years finally earned you a nice shiny diploma. But, what’s next?

Well, studies seem to indicate most college graduates don’t really have a clue.

That’s right. You’re not alone.

Graduates Just Can’t Find Work

Just last year, a CNBC team took an in-depth look at the work statistics of over 500 graduates across the nation, and what they found was staggering. Over 70% of them were either unemployed or underemployed, and, of the 30% remaining, only two-thirds had found full-time work in a suitable field. Not surprisingly, even the vast majority of the employed graduates weren’t satisfied either.

The simple fact of the matter is- times are changing. It’s getting harder to find quality jobs, and, no matter where you graduated from, competition in the job market is significantly stiffer than it was, say, a decade ago.

So, how do you avoid being a statistic?

Researchers say it’s all about two things- networking and experience.

For many graduates, the problem isn’t a lack of work- its a lack of practical knowledge about the field.

For others with adequate work experience, there’s no one to help them get their foot in the door.

Work First, Apply Later

This, according to the pros, is where grad-level apprenticeships and externships work their magic. As a graduate, your college diploma will allow you to dive into fields you may be unfamiliar with, and gain both the valuable work experience and connections you need to launch a great career.

It’s that simple. If you’ve recently graduated (and your resume could use a little work), take a look at some externships, apprenticeships, or even good-old fashioned internships. You’d be surprised at the things you can learn, the people you can meet, and the networking opportunities all right there for the taking!

And when you get that dream job in a year or two… don’t forget to thank us!

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