An article about and letter to those giving out advice before it’s requested to underemployed college graduates struggling to find a job.
Dear Employed College Graduate of Any Age
We humbly appreciate your willingness in attempt to save us underemployed, struggling college graduates who will likely be working for low wages until we die. Please, consider that we’re intelligent enough to have tried everything you could possibly suggest. Or, at the very least, can explain why your so-called brilliant plan to fix our financial predicament will not change our situation.
Have you tried Indeed?
Excuse me while I roll my eyes. Is Indeed the only employment website you know of? What about LinkedIn, Monster, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder, SimplyHired, SnagAJob…
Oh, I’m sorry that you found your job quite easily after college and cannot grasp how truly difficult it is to find employment and why in the modern age. I see now why you think you’re making original suggestions here.
Are you offended that someone underemployed knows more job sites than you do?
I think the first time I heard about Indeed was when talking with an adviser/professor at my university. She was giving me job searching advice. That’s when I learned at least three job sites, like LinkedIn and Monster. That was the same professor who told me I’d need an internship to land a job. According to her, graduates who hadn’t had one weren’t able to find employment. Well, be that as it may, I didn’t have time in my schedule for an internship.
Looking back, I am perfectly satisfied knowing that I didn’t have an internship during school. I managed to get one on my own after graduation, anyway. I enjoyed the one I had. In fact, I’m sure that my university wouldn’t have connected me with one as interesting.
Nonetheless, it hasn’t made things easier, as that advisor suggested.
The bottom line is that, internship or not, if you haven’t been paid doing it or if it isn’t the right kind of work, potantial employers will simply “swipe left.”
Have you tried networking?
With whom am I supposed to be networking, exactly? Yes, I’ve read stories about how so and so was having an interview with someone from whatever company it was they wanted to be hired into and managed to have coffee with the interviewer or something and BAM they had a job! Who has that kind of time when you work the schedule of a low wage worker and these companies need to fill these open positions asap?! Networking is useless unless you’re in the right place at the right time.
Have you tried…[insert random job that someone they know had success with]?
It’s wonderful when someone is able to randomly switch direction in their career and become a massive success. Good for them! It doesn’t mean that everyone else in financial crisis needs to do the same. It’s not “one size fits all.”
Why not go back to school for [another degree]?
There are articles explaining that the odds of more schooling benefiting someone are slim. Most of the time, it only adds to the debt that has already taken up residence on someone’s shoulders.
Here’s a thought: If your degree for so-called employment after high school isn’t working, what makes you think a second degree is going to magically cause money to appear in your bank account?
Unless your field specifically needs a higher degree, and you know you’ll improve your chances, going back to school will only guarantee one thing: higher debt.
Do some free/volunteer work for experience!
Personally, as a writer, I currently have at least three years of volunteer experience and another six months as an unpaid intern.
One interviewer asked how much I was paid during the three years. After my sudden need to emphasize the title “volunteer,” they accused me of “not being very good.” Why, yes, that must be it! A nonprofit organization keeping me on to edit their websites for professionals to eventually invest in them must mean that I’m a bad writer! Don’t hire me!
Of course, after that, the same interviewer said that my request for $35,000/yr was “too high.” The most he would pay was $15,000. Back at home, I researched the average salary of the position in that location and found it to have a $45,000 median!
Meanwhile, online, a stranger once mentioned having ten years of experience under their belt with no one willing to hire them!
Clearly, it’s a bit more complicated.
What about a temp agency?
Ah, now you’re on a topic I’m familiar with. This has become the only way to gain employment without cashiering until I die.
I’ve lost count of how many temp agencies I’m signed up with, currently. Every new experience is similar to the first one I had, years ago.
I remember how thrilled I was to work in an office for the first time. The job itself was even close to home. My first week, the manager asked me over and over if I would be satisfied with such a role because most newbies were so bored that they’d stop coming in. Not me. I was thrilled to have a full-time job with such an awesome company; unfortunately, after about a month, I had come home from work to a phone call from the recruiter. I thought that maybe the job had become permanent; instead, they were notifying me that the assignment had ended. I was reassured that I had done nothing wrong: “They said you did a great job, but you don’t have enough experience.”
So, why wasn’t I made a permanent employee?
I was depressed for months after that. These days, I appreciate every experience I have because it adds another layer to my resume.
Of course, I also realize that it’s highly likely that it will continue this way.
At least, it beats unemployment or cashiering.
Consider for a moment that perhaps the only reason you aren’t in the same boat is by chance, and not because you know something we don’t.
Note: This was originally published by the author on HubPages in 2018.