The wait time between graduating from college and landing your first “big girl” job can take several months to a year. It can be a little depressing watching your friends and classmates get hired almost instantaneously and celebrate promotions while you seem to be lagging behind.

If you’re like me, you don’t want to settle and sell yourself short. You believe that there is the perfect position for you with your name on it and that it’s all going to work out in your favor. That is great and all, but you can’t sit on your butt and expect everything to magically align.

Faith without works is dead. Here are some things you can do to better yourself, beef up your resume and still make ends meet in the mean time. And hey, these are things that everyone else didn’t have the opportunity to do because they got hired right away:

1. Babysit

I’m sure there are plenty of parents you know in your circle who could use an extra hand in watching the kids, since they are out of school for the summer.

If you don’t particularly like kids, this would be a great opportunity for you to grow in that area. You will learn how to develop patience, leadership skills, and even creativity that you will need on the job.

Being able to deal with different personalities and even childish behaviors is something that you have to get used to for the rest of your work life. You might as well get your feet wet (pun intended) with the kids next door.

2. Freelance

Why not turn one of your hobbies into some cash? Whether you’re a writer, a photographer, a speaker or an artist, you have something valuable to share with a larger audience.

There are tons of summer events in your community that need media coverage or artistic talent and you could be just the person they are looking for! Freelancing allows you to book clients at your own pace. You can schedule back to back gigs to save up for a vacation or you could spread them out and enjoy yourself in between. It’s your world!

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3. Start a business

There’s no better time to start a business than now! You no longer have papers and exams as an excuse to not give your idea a try.

You have nothing but time on your hands. Maybe it’s time to hit up an old friend and ask if they would give you some pointers on web design, HTML or WordPress. Maybe you can reach out to a professor who taught a course you always wanted to take but didn’t have the time to and they could give you some guidance. More people are willing to help than you realize.

4. Network

Perhaps there are some meet-ups in your area that you can go to and network with other people in your field. You can find a lot of free events if you know the right people.

Even if the event doesn’t interest you, at least you stepped outside of your comfort zone and engaged with other professionals. You never know how those connections may come in handy later in your career. Never underestimate the price of a business card.

5. Travel

When you start your career, you won’t be able to get up and go whenever you want to. Take advantage of your unique situation! Try new foods, learn fragments of a foreign language and discover more about yourself. Open your eyes to the joy that is in every season, no matter how hard it may seem.

You won’t get this time back, so don’t waste it! You want to be able to bring life and vitality to your work setting. Going in with all of these experiences under your belt will make you stand out as a candidate.

You will also appreciate the job more since you’ve waited so long to get there. Be patient with yourself, trust the process and pray often. Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. It’s yours for a reason!

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