Dr. Ree Langham
October 27, 2018
According to the employment website, Statista, approximately 4% of recent college grads were unemployed in the U.S., in 2017, despite the “general unemployment rate” dropping from 4.9% in 2016 to 4.7 % in 2017, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The “general unemployment rate” for September 2018 was 3.7% with approximately 2.1% of college grads still being unemployed after 6 months. What does this mean for you? It means there are more jobs available for new college grads, but it also means that there’s more competition now too.
And, the brutal truth is that “degree-required” jobs are being snatched up by the second by hungry and ambitious college grads just like you. So, what happens then? Well, then you are forced to look for jobs outside of your field – jobs that may or may not require a college degree. If the jobs “prefer” but don’t “require” an education, then you are competing with both college grads (new and seasoned) and those without an education, but with a boatload of experience in the field. And, if the jobs don’t require a college degree at all, well, the sea of competitors is endless.
So, even though you have been applying for jobs in your field right and left since you graduated (and sometimes even before you graduated), spiffed up your resume so it shines, interned anywhere and everywhere you could find, and purchased interview attire (because you want to look your best when those interviews come flooding in), it might not be as easy to snag your dream job after graduation, as you had hopped. It may take a while…
Okay, so what can you do to speed this process up? Here are three things you can do.
Going back to school once you have graduated probably doesn’t sound all that appealing. The truth, though, is, you can boost your odds of getting a job in your field, by selecting a major in a booming field (this requires pre-graduation employment research) or going back to school and selecting another field that is booming. If you aren’t too keen about going another two or three years to attain another degree (you won’t have to retake the core classes), you may want to consider a certificate or degree in a technical or vocational field. Many career fields require some form of certification or accreditation. Making this investment will likely make you more competitive.
Many jobs are attained simply from networking with people in your chosen field. I bet if you take a hard, long look at your contact list there are at least two or three people, who are either in your field or “bigwigs” at a company you’d love to work at. Utilize these people. More specifically, reach out and ask them if they have any openings at their company and if they don’t, ask them if they know any company that does. Don’t be shy and timid, because that won’t get you anywhere. No, be assertive and passionate about what you would like to do.
But, what if you don’t know anyone in your field? Then, browse the internet looking for networking opportunities in your field and GO to them. If you’re an introvert, force yourself to introduce yourself to others at networking events. Remember, “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” So, start talking – and networking.
Have you thought about hiring a job coach or at least seeking career help? If not, you may want to consider doing just that. Recent studies suggest that new college grads that still don’t have jobs after six months may want to hire a career professional to help jump start their careers.
For even more tips, download our free handbook, Still unemployed six months after graduation? Here’s what you should do.
College Mouse offers several resources to help you get the help you need – including a directory of over 300 career counselors across the United States and a comprehensive course, Keys to Career Success, for people who need a self-paced guide to navigate the difficult transition from college to the world of work. Check out the course here.
Another useful job search and prep resource is the College Mouse Career Guide.
Last but not least, stay positive. This is easier said than done, but it is crucial, if you are ever going to get a job in your field. No one likes a “Debby Downer,” especially not hiring managers. They would rather you have something positive and productive to share with them, during interviews. Therefore, it is important to stay positive, while you wait. Eventually, you will get a job in your field – you just have to be patient – and productive.