Post College: How Searching for a Job is a Full-Time Job

From the perspective of a June 2015 graduate, searching for a job is probably one of the most difficult things I’ve had to go through. There are so many inspiring, “you can do it” attitudes from parents, professors, and guest speakers. Even our president, Barack Obama, who just delivered a speech to Howard University on how our generation can change the world. How can we change the world if no one will give us a chance? In a report from 2013 by the Washington Post, only 27% of college graduates are able to obtain a job within their field. 

It took me about 7 months of constant searching, great determination, hundreds of submitted resumes and applications, and spiraling further and further into the farewell debt package that my university so graciously gave me. But I knew I wanted to be a writer and editor, and that I would have to fight for that dream. 

So why is it so difficult to secure a career in a field that you are educated in, maybe even over-educated in, worked hard to achieve good grades, and worked at unpaid internships and gained experience in said field? In yet, you still find yourself playing the waiting game, which is a difficult task for me and all of my other impatient peers that join in on the struggle of checking our email accounts at least 5 times a day. 

Why is it more difficult to hold out for the job that you are passionate about and that you have worked so hard for, when the number of calls and emails I’ve gotten for offers in advertising and marketing is astonishing. When did selling a product become more in-demand than teaching a student how to read, or helping to keep a sick patient alive? 

The only city where writing and editing employees reaches above 5,000 in the employment of this division is New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Division with 17,920. However, even that isn’t very much considering that there are 8.4 million people living in New York City alone. Chicago only holds about 3,710 editorial employees. Employment for advertising sales agents easily doubles in number, in areas like Chicago with 7,720 and Los Angeles with 8,040. Elementary school teachers reach employment numbers of 61,200 in the New York/New Jersey division, and 27,730 in the Chicago/Naperville area. Could one pin this lack of employment on location?

In a 2009-2010 study, recent college graduates who majored in education have an unemployment rate of 6%. Business majors generally have an unemployment rate of 7%. Sociology majors have a slightly higher unemployment rate of 8.6%, and above that is liberal arts majors with 9.2%. 

In a report done by the U.S. Department of Labor, unemployment rates have decreased by nearly half over the past 6-7 years. However, is this a genuine decline, or are college educated graduates simply more inclined now to accept any job while taking on the long-waiting search for their dream job? For some, the search may take years before their opportunity arises. 

In my case, these statistics don’t match up to the personal stories I have heard from the majority of my family members and friends who felt like the 6 month search for employment was never going to end. And in a good portion of these cases, the individual who did eventually land their ideal job had a personal contact connection with the employer. It has become an unfortunate but well known fact that employers only take approximately 6 seconds to look over your resume before moving onto the next one. That is a glance at someone’s hard work and dedication over the past 22 years, or longer in some cases.

The discouraging factual numbers show that unemployment rates of workers under the age of 25 increased over the past 7 years in 46 out of the 50 states. There seems to be endless damage done to the entry level employment sector for college graduates. These are individuals who are supposed to be filled with ambition and determination as they enter the work force, and the world. Yet, the foundation on which the system is built on is a crumbling one, that continues to build on top of a rotting structure. So how do we change the system? How can we better the framework of employment for the next generation, and our children, and our children’s children?

Lauren Peterson