NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — Jehoshua Brown, a May, 2013 graduate who earned a B.A. in English from Concordia College in Bronxville, N.Y., landed his first job as an advertising sales assistant last September at Bon Appétit magazine in Los Angeles and couldn't be more excited and relieved.

"The job search was nerve-wracking," he said. "I stayed on campus after graduation to try for a job in New York City but it wasn't enough time before I had to move out, even though I applied for hundreds of jobs."

But no dice.

"So, I went back home to Los Angeles and when I saw the Bon Appétit job pop up," he said, "I quickly called on a human resources contact from a previous internship at Condé Nast and with her immediate referral, I got the job."

But Brown's scenario is the exception, not the rule. Many grads are still struggling. Melissa Green graduated in May 2013 with a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies from Skidmore University in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and, after working through the summer and moving to Boston last fall, is still searching for that first real job. In the meantime, she's taken a part-time job at a local coffee shop. Her new roommate, also a 2013 graduate, works at the local bookstore and yet another, with an English degree, is still working an unpaid internship at a local publishing house. These young women are not alone. In fact, a study done by consulting firm McKinsey and college textbook website Chegg, found that 48% of U.S. college grads in 2012 were employed in jobs that require less than a four-year degree and six times the amount of graduates were working in retail or hospitality as had planned that career path.

I asked an experienced career coach and long-time recruiter for any steps grads may be missing in their job search.

1. Don't rely on online job postings

Anyone who has applied for a job recently has heard the saying that recruiters receive hundreds of resumes for every one job posting. And, roughly 50% of jobs are filled via word-of-mouth referral, internal promotion or headhunters without ever showing up online, says Judi Perkins, a 22-year recruiter. "Someone who is meeting more people and doing more than just filling out online applications is to snag those opportunities," she says.

Annette Cataldi, a career coach who works with unemployed and under-employed grads as part of a non-profit, free job coaching program called Grad Life Choices, advises that you search online job postings daily but recommends that you expand your opportunities by researching companies where you want to work and cold-calling them directly to find the hiring person for the job you want and simply asking if they are hiring. "If they are not hiring, you've still made a contact for future follow-up or for interviewing just for information about jobs in the industry or someone you may meet at an industry event who may make a future referral for you," says Cataldi.