How to effectively put your education to "work" after graduation |

How to put your education to “work” after graduation

Making-Your-Education-WorkPhoto of Student sitting at desk from Shutterstock.

Picture it: You’ve just graduated from one of the top schools in your field, where you spent years studying your butt off. And then, the real world hits. Maybe you couldn’t afford to stay in the city like you’d wanted, or the job of your dreams didn’t pan out. Regardless of what you planned, nothing turned out the way you hoped.

What can you do when you’ve worked hard and your circumstances make your education seem useless? Use your imagination, and make your education work for you!

Go local

Consider your surroundings. Even the smallest towns usually have their own media. Whether it’s a radio or TV station or a newspaper, someone out there will appreciate your expertise.

If you’re the only one in your community with your educational background, maybe you can become an entrepreneur. Your unique knowledge is bound to make you a hot commodity.

And who will your clients be? Don’t hesitate to approach local businesses. Maybe it’s a mom ‘n pop shop that wants help setting up their web site. Or a politician who was told he could use Twitter to attract voters, but he doesn’t have a clue about how to use social media. Schools and places of worship usually have a newsletter of some kind. One of them might need someone to edit for them. Think. There are bound to be people you haven’t met that need help that only you can give.

Help somebody

Believe it or not the time you spent pursuing your education means that you know more than the average person does about your area of study. Even if it’s on a basic level, I can guarantee that to someone out there, you are an expert at something. And more likely than not, someone wants to learn what you know. You might want to share your experience with others by working as an educator, either in person or online.

Apart from teaching formal classes, you may want to consider being a mentor or consultant. Pay it forward with advice about your industry or even the program that you studied.

Translate your skills

You may not see it now, but you’ve got transferrable skills. Some—if not many—of the things you learned that apply to one industry can be used in another. For instance, I have a background in education. Lesson planning and time in front of the classroom may seem like things that are only relevant when you’re a teacher. However, they’ve also given me a background that means I have experience with public speaking and organizing presentations.

What skills do you have that can be used in a different capacity? Though you can’t see it now, don’t despair. You can always use what you’ve learned to benefit others in unexpected ways.

About the author: Claire Francis is a writer who’s been in love with words since she knew what they were. On her blog,, she shares her thoughts on everything from prayer to pop culture. When not letting wayward apostrophes get under her skin, Claire enjoys cooking and chocolate.

Are you making your education work for you? What have you been doing to bridge the gap between educated and employed? We’d like to know! Tell us in the comments section below.