Degreed and Deadlocked?

It’s that time of year again, post graduation season. One of my favorite things to do around this time is to keep a pulse on who has been selected to deliver commencement speeches. I love to read these speeches, to see what the pillars of the community and business world have to offer as parting advice to a young, hopeful group of new graduates. This year however, their words of wisdom seemed to be unusually pessimistic and sarcastic.

It is true; the job market is tough— really tough. New grads are competing with seasoned pros for the same positions, many times sadly, at the same pay grade. Should you believe the pundits who say you are now over-educated and will not be able to afford your degree? I don’t know if this is true, but I do know that thinking this way won’t accomplish anything positive for you.

The reality is that upon graduation you already have a full-time job. It pays nothing. It can be very demoralizing, frustrating & unrewarding at times. You will receive little to no feedback from your “supervisors” on how you can improve. You will feel at times that you are on an island, banging your head against a wall. Congratulations, you are an applicant.

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Applying for a job is a full-time job. Once upon a time job seekers could send over a resume and expect a response, even if it was a generic auto-response, it was still something. This is becoming less and less the case. Many folks look at this as the “harsh reality”. We encourage you to look at this as an opportunity to expand the skills listed on your resume into life and to prove to your would-be-employer beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are the only candidate for the position.

It will take effort to distinguish yourself from the sea of “qualified applicants”, so put in the effort. 

Do the research on how to perfect your resume(s), learn about the companies that you are applying with. Show hiring managers that they can count on your real life skill set by presenting them with the evidence.

Apply for positions that you are truly qualified for, “challenged by” is okay, “ill-equipped for” is a waste of everyone’s time.

Manage yourself well; know your strengths and weaknesses. If you know you have poor follow through ask your former classmates to help keep you honest.

Leverage your peers. After all, they’re in the same boat. It’s not a scary and impossible job market out there; it’s just a lot of hard work to get into the market to land a job.

You managed to make it through college, you can handle this.

contributed by Angela Sikdar

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