Career Planning for Recent Grads: Can't Find a Job? Become an Entrepreneur Instead

These days, career planning for an entry-level position is tough. Right now, for many recent grads, it's all about finding a job -- if it pays and has benefits, it's a great opportunity. In the long term, we may find a position in our first-choice industry, but until then, we'll take what we can get if we're lucky enough to find something.

In a job market when full-time entry-level positions are scarce and competitive, some of us are bound to the waiting game, relying on self-confidence and optimism to keep us moving forward -- to help us find that next opportunity to get our feet wet in the working world.

It's no doubt that this down economy has caused our society to take major steps backwards. We're all struggling, and it's a sad fact that across demographic groups, too many livelihoods are hurt. There's no magic band-aid or cure-all-fix-all, and many of us could truly benefit from scaling back our career planning goals. Some economists even speculate that the younger generations will experience hardships for the rest of their lives.

At the same time, the down economy truly provides a niche for some young people to become entrepreneurs. How is that possible at a time when venture capital has stagnated, and the middle class is shrinking? It may sound counter-intuitive to take a leap of faith in yourself and start a business, but now may be an opportunity to give it a try. After all, if you think small, and invest very little in your start-up costs, you will have very little to lose. You can even keep looking for a full-time job while you develop your business model. If you're cautious, the worst that can happen is that you'll learn, grow, and be even more prepared for your next endeavor.

If you have a marketable skill such as writing, web design, and computer programming, here are some reasons why you may want to start your own small business as a consultant:

(1) In one month, people under the age of 26 will be able to join their parents' health insurance plans, regardless of student status. You may not need to rely upon your employer for affordable health care coverage options. This new situation may provide you with more flexibility with your career planning objectives.

(2) There is demand in the market for independent contractors to work on a project-by-project basis, and many opportunities are posted publicly. Depending on your skill set, you may be able to establish your own portfolio. Investigate opportunities through Craigslist and ifreelance. You may find that you are a good fit for a variety of opportunities. Be confident in yourself, and establish your own client base.

(3) If you're not confident in your skillset, you could consider starting a business for a popular service like pet sitting or house sitting. Give your service an extra edge by developing marketing materials, networking with local businesses, or starting a website.

Even if you're working full-time or part-time, there's opportunity for you to expand your career potential. If you're looking for a job, you can take the initiative to find a more creative way to establish yourself. You won't make millions, and you may not even succeed, but you'll learn something, and you may make enough to get by.

Fight the Great Recession by thinking of the down economy as an opportunity for your personal success. Even if you stick to rational and conservative decisions, you may surprise yourself. A dead end job market may be your best career planning tool.

Photo Credit: Saebaryo