As a soon-to-be college graduate, I am concerned about my future occupational prospects. I am concerned because I know that highly coveted and sought-after college degrees no longer guarantee employment. According to the Associate Press, based on research gathered from “2011 Current Population Survey data by Northeastern University researchers” and other contributors, “about 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years.” Do not glaze over these numbers! Read them again and again and let them sink in because in a few years, if not sooner, you too will be entering a highly competitive job market for gainful employment. So, I ask you: how are you planning to avoid being unemployed or underemployed once you have your degree?
Our current economy’s situation, not to mention future, is ambiguous. Many argue that the U.S. is well on its way to recovery from the largest recession since the Great Depression; however, others still contest that some of the numbers representing growth are misleading. For example, at the beginning of this month, the Department of Labor website stated that 162,000 jobs were added to payroll employment, and “employment rose in retail trade, food services and drinking places, financial activities, and wholesale trade.” This may sound good for job seekers, but look at the jobs that were added—they are all notorious for being part-time jobs.
Granted, jobs are being added, which looks good on the surface, but these are not the quality of jobs which can sustain the already discouraged workers’ demands (i.e. salary and job satisfaction,) or provide for the millions of college graduates who are added to the workforce pool every year. Since anything short of a miracle is unlikely to drastically change the situation in the next five to ten years, this is what you, I and the person sitting next to you are up against in the very near future.
KSU realizes the challenges you and I will face post- graduation. Not only does the university try to assist by helping students meet their academic goals, but it also offers many resources and services which can elevate your chances of success when entering the job market.
The Student Services Center presents seasonal career fairs, such as the Fall 2013 Career Fair in October at the Convocation Center, which will have over 80 booths hosted by national and local companies. Furthermore, the Career Services Center, a division of the Student Services Center, located on the second floor in Kennesaw Hall, offers practically everything you need to help you get ready for the job market such as alumni- to-student mentoring, mock interviews, clubs and even internships.
Besides learning class material, an internship is one of the most important tools you can have in your arsenal against unemployment and underemployment. Amy Scott of Marketplace.org gives detail from a study conducted by Marketplace and The Chronicle of Higher Education when she says, “employers viewed an internship as the single most important credential for recent grads—more than where you went to school or what you majored in. Even your grades.” To further solidify the importance of internships, KSU MPA/MBA graduate Michael Dutcher explains that “completing two internships while an undergrad directly impacted my success in the job market after graduation. According to my first employer, what made me stand out over my competition was my internship experience.”
Battling the economy and unemployment rates is no different from any other confrontation in that you must be prepared. Take advantage of the resources and services that KSU offers, go to job fairs and—most importantly— enroll in an internship. Without any practical or job-related experience to set you apart from the abyss of qualified job seekers, your chances of landing that posh job you are drooling over are slim. I am sure you have heard the saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”Well, do not be that horse.
Senior English Major