Graduation season is here and students are wondering – will they ever be able to find a job and move out of their parent’s home? The short unwelcoming answer is – probably not anytime soon. Dreams of McMansions and pimped out hybrid cars dwindle with the realization of spent college funds on an education they may not be able to use – at least not while working as a waiter or dog groomer. And yes, those loans students took out to pay for college will stalk them unlike any telemarketer they’ve ever been contacted by – again, and again, and again.
A study by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University released on June 18th gave depressing insights to the perpetual trickledown effect of our recession. Statistics don’t lie: the median starting salary for college educated students from 2006 to 2007 was $30,000; in 2009 and 2010 it plummeted to $27,000. And if graduates are part of the lucky 56 percent who found a job by this spring, consider them in a glass half-full compared to 90 percent of graduates from 2006 and 2007 who found a job after graduation.
You’re probably scratching your head wondering why I’m flaunting such a bleak future for the next generation of workers – that’s because, during times of great recession and transition emerges innovative thinking and new workforce landscapes. We may live in one of the most difficult times to get a job, but socially, the population is the most connected it has ever been.
What can you do to put yourself in front of the pack?
– Go digital: Everyone knows job searching in the newspaper is passé, and according to a survey by Mountain View’s Elance, a website for freelancers and independent contractors to find gigs, they agree: 94 percent said they use the web for job searching and 40 percent said they use social media to get jobs. What does this mean for you? Do your due diligence and find website’s that aggregate your industry’s online job postings into one place. If public relations is your field, here’s a good place to start: MediaBistro.com
– Create a LinkedIn profile. Give your traditional resume a revamp and go digital. Leverage LinkedIn as a way to connect with professionals and seek out headhunters from your top companies to get the conversation going. LinkedIn displays Twitter, blog and Facebook feeds from company profiles that give you real-time updates on job opportunities.
– Put your head in the cloud: Job searching is a long and arduous process – but that doesn’t give you a pass to continue to build debt and become a daytime television critic. Plus, Millennials have spoken, 83 percent of them want to work independently according to the Elance survey. Work as a freelancer for the numerous crowdsourcing companies that link your expertise to micro-tasks for their clients, all done from the comfort of your computer. Check out crowdsourcing companies such as Mechanical Turk, CrowdFlower and Clickworker (LCI client).
– Volunteer your skill set: One of the best and most fulfilling ways to build your resume is to offer your expertise to non-profits. Sure, it’s unpaid, but the experience will be a building block for your resume and will keep you relevant in your field. Look into companies that pair your skill set with appropriate non-profits such as TapRoot Foundation.
– Take an internship: One-up your competition and take an internship or two with a company in your field. You’ll build pertinent skills related to your industry and your resume. It’s also a great way to network with colleagues in your field and maybe even get an offer for a full time position. At a minimum, be sure to ask for a letter of recommendation to leverage for future opportunities. If you are interested in interning at LCI, please contact Jordana Frishman, [email protected].
Lastly, don’t forget to say thank you during your job hunt journey. Our PR affiliate in Philadelphia, Anne Buchanan, offers great advice in a blog entitled “Why You Will Never Get Hired at Our PR Firm.”
Happy job hunting.