I Graduated From College During the Last Recession:
Here Are 4 Tips That Helped Me Overcome It

Danielle Rubino

This year has been off to a rocky start. I don’t know about you, but I miss hugging my nieces and nephew, celebrating victories with my coworkers and breaking a sweat during spin classes. I also recognize that these are small indulgences that I took for granted, and at the end of the day I’m just beyond thankful that my loved ones and I are all healthy — especially my mom and sister who are both healthcare workers in the tri-state (the hardest hit area by COVID-19).

This is a difficult time and we’re all experiencing different levels of emotions, setbacks and fears — and sometimes it may even seem trivial to be upset or down that you’ll be missing certain life milestones, such as graduation, birthdays or even Mother’s Day, when people are losing their jobs, getting sick or worse, but feelings of sadness and frustration are completely normal.

While many of us are working from home and gaining pockets of time that would have been spent on commuting, now could be the moment to focus on your future, career, lifestyle and general mindset.

As someone who graduated in 2009 during the last economic recession, I know it can seem challenging, so I’ve provided some tools and resources to keep you motivated, advance your knowledge, and help you gain a new skill set or perspective. It’s with these steps in mind that I’ve been able to continuously — despite challenging circumstances — find job opportunities that inspire me every day and push me to be my best.

  1. Discover an inspiring blog: There are lots of great blogs out there with insightful career advice worth exploring. As a blog follower since 2008, I’ve been a long-time fan of Career Contessa and The Everygirl. Both sites provide in-depth interviews providing real-life experiences, advice and more.
  2. Take advantage of free career development classes: General Assembly, the global tech school, is currently offering free workshops every Friday. Their workshops, which typically range from $60-$200, range from coding, data and marketing, UX design and career development.
  3. Learn a valuable skill like graphic design or web development: Skillshare is an online learning platform with classes taught by the world’s best practitioners. Whether you’re interested in learning graphic design, web development or even career development skills like interviewing, providing feedback, or idea sharing, this is a great one-stop-shop.
  4. Stay in touch with mentors, colleagues and career connections: Having graduated at such a hard time, networking was extremely important and a crucial part of my success today. In college, I had three internships and really took the time to build and maintain these relationships and connections long after the semesters had ended. Even now, I reach out to my past managers and coworkers every few months to check-in, hear what they are up to and to simply let them know I’m thinking of them. Being genuine and authentic allows me to remain true to myself, and also top of mind to them. Look for people who have supported you throughout your career development as they’ll likely to have a vested interest in supporting you still.

Though these times are challenging, there are still a lot of great ways you can pick up new skills, grow and thrive. I hope you found this to be helpful and wish you, your family and your friends continued good health.

Danielle Rubino
Director of Brand Marketing at

As Director of Brand Marketing at Forbes, Danielle is a storyteller responsible for the enhancement of Forbes' brand position and resonance within the marketplace across all channels and regions. Prior to Forbes, Danielle worked for major publishing houses including Meredith Corporation and Condé Nast. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleMRubino or LinkedIn.


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