Work For Free But Never Work For Cheap.
Days are gone where getting A's in your collegiate classes would ensure your smooth transitions from school to a great job. These days employers have been burned to many times from students who aced "french 402" yet can't speak un seul mot. The people hoarding all the jobs are people to have proven them selfs in real life, but aren't necessarily better then you.
Getting your first job, or proving your self in a new field is a classic catch 22. Need experience to get a job, need a job to get experience.
One popular option many people take starting out is freelancing while maintaining that job a little bit longer. Pricing your self for freelancing with no experience is a treturous road to travel. With no experience, and little connections no one will know what you are worth. If you know the value of your skills in can be hard to take a job or project that is below your running rate.
Don't work for less then you deserve. It may seem "better then nothing", but its will lower you quality of work and decrease your chances of making something worthy of your portfolio.
As your skills get more refined, and you gain notoriety you will be asked to do work, often times with the promise of monetary gains. Its important to figure out the running price of services and products in your field for your skill level. Charging less enables you less time, and energy to devote into a project, If you price yourself below your skill set you will lock yourself into that quality range.
This shouldn't be a blank check to charge unreasonable rates, but figure out what people with your skill set, in your area are charging and adjust based on output quality.
If you can't get a job at the pay range your skills deserve, your next best option is to take on some work for an organization you like. This could be for bands, fan clubs, non-profits, or a friends wedding. Only bite off as much work as you want, and never ask for money in exchange for your time in these situations. The goal is to get real life pieces to put into your portfolio, and real life experiences to have for interview day.