Kristen Bednar[Ed. note: This belongs to our series of posts featuring tips for recent grads from LinkedIn users. St. Lawrence University student Kristen Bednar reflects on her job search experiences giving advice on how job seekers can COPE with the hard times. Bednar who plans to graduate in May with a Bachelors degree in Economics, will be pursuing an M.B.A. at the Simon Graduate School of Business in the fall]

The current job market is not ideal for anyone, let alone those of us completing four years of undergraduate study with dreams of future careers. But through my experiences, I have learned a few ways to COPE:

C: Communicate and connect with friends, family, alumni, professors and previous employers. There is no shortage of advice that may be helpful, and the power of networking during a job search should not be underestimated. I would not have considered applying to graduate school now if it were not for the advice and support of a SLU alumnus.

O: Open your mind to new ideas. It may not be the perfect job, but it may help define future plans more clearly. Be innovative and creative with the options you do find, and optimism always helps.

P: Plan for change. It was never my own intention to head to graduate school right out of undergrad, but like all well-laid plans, mine changed. The ability to be flexible has been key to considering each opportunity as it comes my way.

E: Experience. If you don’t have plans, look for experiences. Many of my peers have decided to teach English in a foreign country, join programs like Teach for America that combine higher education with teaching, or travel with a non-profit to promote a cause. Others are shadowing alumni in interesting careers over the summer, or working for free to try out different careers while applying for graduate schools or continuing their job search.