Dear Dr. Faizal,

It’s been 18 months since I graduated with a degree in Geography. But I can’t find a job in my field! I’ve applied to hundreds of jobs and been to countless interviews but I never get the gig. I’m tired of my minimum wage part-time job at a fast food restaurant. I’m so disappointed! I didn’t get any of the skills that employers ask for through school. What do I do? Should I go back to school and specialize in something? I just want my career to start already.

– Why Can’t I Find A Job

Dear Why Can’t I Find A Job,

As we experience the trials of university life, one of the key motivators we have is that once we’re handed this piece of paper, the world will be our oyster – we’ll get the job we’ve always dreamed of, we’ll be paid what we think we’re worth, and we’ll start establishing our career. These expectations are natural.

Natural expectations, however, do not always cater to reality. You could relocate, trying to find a job in a different province or country. You may be one of the fortunate ones and find a job of your liking somewhere else – but to what avail? Are you ready, or willing, to change your lifestyle because you are temporarily disappointed?

Post-graduation sometimes comes with other problems and self-doubts, a few of which you have mentioned. You could return to school and take more specialized courses, but without knowing if these courses will lead to gainful employment, you could be no better off than you are now.

One way to acquire important and free information about which skills you need to get a job in your field is to ask past interviewers why you didn’t get the gig. Most interviewers and hiring agents would be pleased to share with you what you lack and where to go to get the appropriate skills. With this valuable insight, you could then register for the courses through which you would acquire the skills necessary for gainful employment.

Until you find the job of your dreams, you may consider taking your present skills from your Geography degree and teaching them to others. You would be a tutor and benefit from the various benefits (tax deductions, setting your own schedule, setting your fees, etc.) of being self-employed. An easy and effective way to promote your services is online through – what I consider to be two credible sources – and Do your research. If you take the later and click ‘geography tutor,’ you’ll find that most of the listed tutors earn around $50/hour. Beats minimum wage, doesn’t it?

If the responsibilities accompanied with being self-employed does not excite you, with your qualifications, you could teach at already-established agencies. Sylvan Learning, a reputable education centre, with a few locations in Vancouver Lower Mainland, is hiring. You may visit them at for more information. Here, from my knowledge, you would be given a contract and be paid based on the hours and number of students you work with.

So, don’t lose hope! Take comfort that you have options to start you in the direction of employment. But remember – how you choose to utilize these options is up to you.


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