Surviving the College Graduate Employment Perfect Storm

Surviving the College Graduate Employment Perfect Storm

The College Graduate Employment Perfect Storm is raging!

Sounds dramatic? You won’t think so after reviewing these four recent TRENDS and FACTS:

1. The threat of Student Loans increasing. Student debt has become a dire issue, with many young graduates deep in debt and without jobs. It is second only to mortgages as the largest debt that
consumers carry. In 2011, students owed on average nearly $27,000 in student loans. Class of 2013
grads average $35,200 in debt and 92%, say they will pay back their debt using income from their
jobs.

2. Student loan debt is set to drag down future economic growth. It’s a matter of how much; there’s reason to worry. After all, the latest outstanding student loan balance has risen to $870 billion –
more than either the total credit card debt (at $693 billion) or the outstanding car loan debt (at $730
billion). (Federal Reserve Bank)

3. With or without loans, the cost of attending college or university is skyrocketing. College tuitions continue to soar, advancing every year far in excess of the inflation rate. The overall inflation rate since 1986 is 115.06%, which is why we pay more than double for everything we buy now than we
did then. On the other hand, during the same time, tuition increased a whopping 498.31%. (Inflation
Data)

4. More than half (53%) of America’s recent college graduates are either unemployedor working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree, the Associated Press recently reported.. About 1.5
million, or 53.6%, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 were jobless or underemployed
last year, the highest share in at least 11 years.

So what should prospective graduates do NOW to compete to “win” a job upon graduation?

  • Time and preparation is key. Students prepare for exams, projects, and papers by understanding the goal, doing research, then executing as flawlessly as possible. The same level of precision and execution is needed for the job search process. If a student – whether attending undergraduate or graduate school – is not actively driving his or her job search process right now, they are late.
    • Do you have a job search goal? Is it very clearly articulated and have you shared it?
    • Do you have your job search process organized and managed in some kind of task management tool? Use a 3-ring notebook, Microsoft OneNote, or at least schedule your activities on a calendar.
    • Are you networking, submitting robust applications (not just a résumé), and committed to good follow-up?
  • There are no short cuts. To get a job today, in the most competitive era ever, students have to take their job searches seriously, spend hours on every step, and work to be the best candidate. Stop R.A.A. (Random Acts of Application). Read the job description carefully and ask yourself if you meet
    more than 60% of their required qualifications. Network to find employees of your target companies
    so you can learn more and possibly get them to refer you internally!
  • Build a large portfolio of opportunities. While students aspire to securing their dream job, they need to apply to multiple opportunities at the same time. I recommend every job seeker juggle 10
    real (e.g. posted) opportunities simultaneously. Not in one company, either! Once you get
    interviews, you can reduce your focus to 3 positions, but you need to have 10 job applications active
    at one time.
  • Invest in your job search. Utilize the resources in your career placement center, free resources online, and invest in a few good books. Hint, mine is called Cut the Crap™, Get a Job! Parents of graduates, the best gift you can give your child is the service of a job search private coach. They will learn skills they will need for the rest of their life.

Do something dramatically different to change your game now, graduates. Stop spraying resumes
everywhere then blaming your lack of response on the weak economy or lack of jobs.