When I graduated from college back in 2010, I went about six months without any sort of employment whatsoever.
I had no prospects for employment and no savings. I inevitably had to move back home and figure something out - fast.
Many of my former classmates were in similar situations, except they also happened to be dealing with the burden of student loans. Some of them had even gotten themselves close to $100,000 of debt for their education (we went to a private school).
Fast forward about 18 months when I was working as a recruiter and I spent my days interviewing young adults who couldn't find jobs while their grace period on their student loans kept ticking away.
While the economy is thankfully much better now than it was back then, the truth is some people still find themselves in a situation where they can't find a job and have to start repaying their student loans. Here are some of the ways you can start getting ready to make those payments, even if you can't find a job.
Check Your Ego at the Door
One of the things that irritated me when I worked in recruiting was when recent grads would complain about student loans but had a bad attitude about what jobs were actually available to them.
If you've got loans to pay back, check your ego at the door and take any job you can get your hands on. In a down economy you cannot be picky. Additionally, no one gets into a management position just out of college; you need to work for it.
I started as a part-time English teacher at a language school making $13.00 an hour and I was grateful for every cent that came in. At that point it didn't matter what my degree said or how much I'd spent on it; I was just happy to have a job and worked hard.
If You Can't Find a Job, Create One
This has become a mantra for the millennial generation. Last year, the Young Entrepreneur Council found that 1 in 3 millennials had some sort of business.
Entrepreneurship also happened to be my saving grace. I started freelance writing and blogging about financial topics precisely because I couldn't find a job. What started as a desperate attempt to make money continued on as a side hustle while I had regular employment until it eventually it turned into my full-time gig.
The reality is you don't have to wait for someone to give you a job. If you have some sort of a skill you can charge people for it.
Whether it's writing, web design, dog walking or babysitting there's always a way to make money.
Look into Loan Postponement Options
If you can prove that you're having financial hardship you can qualify for payment postponement options. In fact, anyone who has a federal loan and can prove financial hardship is entitled to a deferment that can last for up to three years.
This is a much better option than letting your loan go into default, which can haunt you for the rest of your financial life. Of course, you'll need to actually do your research and speak to your lender in order to apply for deferment.
Consider Income Based Repayment
Income Based Repayment (IBR) is a program that cap student loan payments based on income and family size. If you're having difficulty finding full-time employment (or if you are underemployed) this may be a beneficial option because it can reduce your student loan payments to 10 percent of your income. In order to enroll in IBR you need to call your lender and apply.