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I finally finished my degree after the summer program and have my diploma and was wondering where I could borrow money while I look for a job? Job interviews are not cheap, especially if a flight is involved. While I was in school I worked for the school in a work-study program but now that's no longer an option.

My current situation is I had a full scholarship to the school so I have no student loans, which is why I'm very unfamiliar with this process. As I said above, I worked at the school and that was enough to pay for rent/food/books + save a little bit while I was studying. Now that I have my diploma I don't have a job lined up straight out of school (I'm in software so I did get did a couple of bad offers that I declined but I'm confident whatever loan I get I can pay back within a few months, either in full or monthly payments after a 3-4 month delay to get situated) so I was wondering what's a good place to borrow money for a few thousand dollars that I can pay back within half a year to a year so I can just focus on looking for a job.

I know many people in my situation go back to live with their parents until they get on their feet, but that's not really an option for me as they currently are back in Korea (I have a green card, if that's relevant) and I can't speak the language. I went to a decent school (top 15 ranked in US) and got good grades if that helps me at all convince whoever I need to convince that I can get a job and pay them back.

The big companies fly me out and house me in a hotel for interviews, but those in person interviews are hard to get. Normally, a single flight to california where the good jobs are runs a couple hundred dollars for me and I've had to decline all of them even from good companies because my savings can't really take a hit like that. The area I'm at doesn't really have great jobs for my field and even driving out of state for interviews is running my money low for gas and motel payments. I'd love to just fly over to Santa Clara and look for a job while living in a small apartment there while focusing only on finding the best job possible.

All the student loans websites are for people currently in school so I'm pretty stuck. Is there a way to get student loans and use it for the job hunt? Since I didn't take any federal student loans or from companies like sallie mae is it possible to still get money from them? I definitely don't need 20 or 30 thousand dollars, only a couple thousand to survive and print resumes for a couple months till I can find a good offer. I feel like I should be lower risk for them as I've already graduated in a field that's currently hiring quite well.

Thanks for reading, I honestly have no idea what to do about getting someone to lend me money at all since I've never been in this situation before. All the tips online are for auto loans and housing loans, never something like my current predicament. I know it sounds a little silly that I need loans for plane tickets and motel rooms.

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    Have you considered a temporary position somewhere while you're looking? Its hard to get a loan on decent terms without anything to back it up (secured loan) or a steady source of income to show to the bank. – littleadv Sep 4 '13 at 5:58
  • That's the next step I'm considering, it'll stall me finding a more permanent position anywhere too far away from where I live now since I'd have to ask for lots of days off if I want to travel very far. – Peter Sep 4 '13 at 10:55
  • Also, is there a way to get a loan with an offer letter? Does that prove income or do they need paychecks/stubs? I'm thinking of just taking an offer quickly but I'd still need money to move. I don't mind high interest rates as I won't be borrowing very much/for very long and will want to pay it back in full or in a small duration. – Peter Sep 4 '13 at 11:03
  • I think you'd have some trouble getting a loan with just an offer letter... it's not concrete proof that you have the job. You might contact the employer and see if they can give you an advance on any signing bonuses or even on your pay... that's a fairly common practice in mid- to large-sized corporations. – THEAO Sep 4 '13 at 12:00
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    "interviews are not cheap, especially if a flight is involved" - what company would require you to foot your own flight to/from an interview? I've never heard of such a thing anywhere - if they want to interview you onsite, they'll foot the bill! – warren Sep 5 '13 at 19:49
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You have a few options, none of which are trade off free:

  1. Apply for a credit card, and live off of that.

    Here, of course, you will go into debt, and there are minimums to pay. But, it will tide you over. In any case, you are getting unsecured credit, so your rates will probably be very, very high. You don't want to build up a lot of 20% per annum debt.

    An alternative to this would be to go to any bank and ask for an unsecured loan. Having no income, it will be difficult, though not necessarily impossible, to secure some funds. When I was in between houses, once, for example, I was able to borrow $30,000 in unsecured debt (to help me construct my new house!), just based on my income. Grant you, I paid it 2 months later, in order to avoid the 10% / year interest, but the point is that unsecured debt does exist. Credit Cards are easier to get.

  2. Arrange for personal financing through your parents or other relatives.

    If your parents can send you remittances, the terms will most likely be more generous. They know your credit and your true ability to repay. Just because they send you money doesn't mean you have to live with them. As a parent, I have a stake in ensuring my children's success. If I think that tiding them over briefly is in their best interest and mine, you better be sure I'll do it.

    A variation on this is Microfinance - something like Kiva. Here, if you can write up a story compelling enough to get finance, there are people who might lend you money. Kiva is normally directed towards poorer countries and entrepeneurs - but local variations exist.

    UPDATE: Google-backed 'LendingClub.com is far more appropriate to this situation than Kiva. Same general idea, but that's the vendor.

  3. Find freelance, contract, or light employment.

    Your concern about employment is justified - you don't want to be in a position where you are unable to travel to an interview because Starbucks or McDonalds will fire you if you don't show up for a shift. (Then again, do you really care if McDonald's lets you go?) As such, you need to find income that is less bound by schedule. Freelance work, in particular, will give you that freedom - assuming you have a skill you can trade. Likewise, short term contract work is equally flexible - usually. Finally, it may be easiest just to get temporary pickup work in a service capacity. In any event, doing something will be better than doing nothing. Who knows, you might want to be a manager / owner of a McDonalds some day. Wouldn't hurt to say, "I started at the bottom."

  • Lending Club loan would be more suitable than Kiva IMHO in this case. – littleadv Sep 4 '13 at 16:17
  • Lengdingclub was a no go since it needs an income. I'll try the bank and my credit card next, though I haven't used my credit card in so long I don't know if it still works. Thanks a lot. – Peter Sep 4 '13 at 16:58
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You have asked about getting a loan, the issue is that you don't have collateral to offer up in exchange for the loan, you also don't have a regular source of income. Getting a low level job, even one not related to your major will provide income. Getting a not-so-perfect job related to your major will allow your to sustain yourself, and provide experience that can help you find the perfect job.

The time from application to interview to offer letter to start date can be measured in months. This is even with positions you are perfect for. Since it can take months to get started in a new job you should focus on something that you can get started right away.

This type of job will have a shorter time frame for the interview cycle. You may feel overqualified for the jobs based on the fact you just graduated from college but this was the type of job you should have had to bridge you from school to the job you want.

Regarding the end goal of getting the perfect job, you might have to refocus your efforts. When you had time and money you could afford to be picky about company, location and salary. Now that money is in short supply you will need to change your standards. Keep in mind it is not just an issue about being able to travel to job interviews, it is also about needing a way to afford food, and health insurance.

Go back to your college campus and talk to the career counselors they can help your with your resume, and give job search advice. They may also have contacts that can help you find a position with a good local company or even a national company. They may even know of companies that need employees for just a few months to fill a need.

  • I have no problem with taking a job earlier that I might not like as much since I know that finding the "perfect" job may never come around and that will be my next step. It's that, except the very rare opportunity when a big company flies me out, I've never flown out for interviews if I get past the phone interview and find out they don't have a travel budget for me. So what I feel like is that I've never even had the opportunity to apply for a job that may be great for me and was hoping there'd be something that would lend me some money so I can actually fly out to try to get a good job. – Peter Sep 4 '13 at 15:37
  • Besides parents, is there nothing else college grads can do to borrow money for getting jobs? I'm actually not even sure how some of my classmates were able to afford to go to interviews during school. – Peter Sep 4 '13 at 15:41
  • During school many companies send recruiters to the campus. You should have been meeting with them last semester. Many can do the interview for positions for new college graduates at the university. – mhoran_psprep Sep 4 '13 at 15:45
  • Yeah, I've met them during job fairs but those are usually the big companies (that would fly me out anyways) or local companies. I know I don't have a good chance to get a loan at all -- and no chance to get one at a good rate -- but is there no where I can at least start looking to at least try to get one? I'm definitely taking everyone's advice to heart and will probably take a temp. job but I'd at least like to put forth the effort to try and get a loan first. If that falls through (and probably will but I'd like to at least try) then I'll just accept a position. – Peter Sep 4 '13 at 15:58

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