Treat Yourself

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Twentysomethings are dealing with a number of obvious economic problems. With constant cutbacks and layoffs, overqualified individuals are trickling down into positions formerly considered entry-level. Average salaries in many fields, particularly non-profits, have remained stagnant, while the workflow is higher than ever. The number of people with Masters Degrees on some form of public assistance tripled between 2007 and 2010. We've barely been given a chance in the workforce, and we’re already years behind previous generations. So what else can you do?

Get Certified

There are hundreds of certifications out there that will make you an even more desirable candidate. Research professional organizations in your field, check out requirements for applicable licenses and attend upcoming conferences. Many employers find notary licenses to be very helpful in the office. Anything you can add to your resume under Skills and Certifications will automatically make your experience seem more important.

Think Outside Your Box

Get creative! Find friends with similar interests and hobbies, and collaborate on a project. Make a line of jewelry, sew a quilt, start a cooking club or plan a charity event. Any of these things could turn into an entrepreneurial opportunity given the right circumstances.

Consider Moving

Your distant relatives probably came to America in a boat, with just the clothes on their backs. These days, it’s a bit easier to move for better opportunities. Some states with high attrition are offering student loan reimbursement after a year of residency. Niagara Falls, NY offers $7,000 over two years, while Kansas is offering income tax waivers for up to five years and/or student loan repayments up to $15,000. And, as far as I know, you can still land grab in Alaska like a homesteader!

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you are unemployed or underemployed. After years of setbacks, it’s also easy to begin to blame yourself more than the economy. So instead of knocking yourself down, build yourself up. Improving YOU is a guaranteed self-esteem booster and will increase your chances at snagging that dream job, whatever it may be. As the great Donna says, ‘Treat yourself.