If you want an idea of exactly how hard it is for college grads to find work read “Hello Cruel World: What the Fate of One Class of 2011 Says About the Job Market.” The N.Y. Times surveyed 226 graduates of Drew University and found that seven months after commencement many were underemployed, working one or two part-time jobs, or still looking for work.
While sad stories abounded there were some successes: two grads landed jobs by turning networking into an endurance sport, and another by sending out 150 resumes. Among the most notable was one grad who works in holistic dog grooming and another who sells colonic cleansing systems!
The piece conveys that sense was that many new grads felt betrayed when they found that an expensive college education does not guarantee a good job.
The comments on the article provide some much need perspective that should calm the fears of every parent of a new or soon-to-be college grad (yours truly included). Several commenters noted that very few new grads—past and present—start off in their dream jobs. Many recounted that their own career paths took dips and turns before leading them to where they are today.
So how to get that first job? Most of the advice consisted of stategies we have all been preaching to our children, but t it’s good to hear our opinions seconded. Several commenters reiterated that networking was the best way to get a job, whether you’re 22 or 62.
“Rich,”a hiring manager from Colorado, gave the best advice. Pass it along to those unemployed grads you know:
First take a job. Any job. If your resume shows a multi-year gap after college, it goes in the discard pile. We understand times are tough. Work at something. This demonstrates you can get out of bed, get dressed, and show up. Many of your fellows can’t. It’s a discriminator.
Get some skills. If you want to be a bank VP, get a job as a teller. If you have anything on the ball, you will be noticed and you will rise in the organization. But beware of looking better than your boss. He or she probably feels his or her job is on the line every day.
Nobody cares what you know. Nobody cares what school you attended. All we care about is what you can do.