1.7 million undergraduate college grads..700,000 advanced degreed graduate this year. Eighty five percent won’t have a job by the time they graduate. Their average debt will be $37,000 and they will take eight months to find a job. They paid an average of $9,000 a year in tuition for public universities and $21,000 a year for private schools. And that’s just the tuition.
They’re going to be hundreds of articles written by hundreds of “authorities” about what graduates can do to find a job. I’m going to pass on the ideas that I have learned from being in the trenches helping people find jobs…many of them fresh grads…since 1973. Some people may not like the reality that I will discuss, but sometimes reality is a bit painful.
To begin with, if you are an out of work grad you should buy the book, The Unemployed Grad and What Parents Can Do About It, by a friend of mine, who was on a radio program every Monday morning, Don Philabaum. It’s one of the best sources of how to find a job there is.
If you are graduating from college this year, I know this is a hell of a time to hear this, but you should START LOOKING FOR A JOB YOUR SOPHMORE YEAR OF COLLEGE. Okay, so he didn’t do that, but you should pass it along to your younger brothers or sisters or relatives or friends. And, of course my book, The Job Search Solution, will also help.
Ever since you were a sophomore you should’ve been VISITING THE CAREER CENTER at your college or university. You need to find out what kind of business organizations hire through the career center and take as much information as they are willing to provide you about what’s going to happen once you are into the job market. Sixty percent of college students never even visit the college career Center at their school. Big mistake! Some universities and colleges are getting smart enough to insist as part of a student’s curriculum a visit to, as well as clear understanding, of what the career Center can do for a student.
If you haven’t already, even if you’re a senior, take advantage of APTITUDE TESTING. I’m not talking about a $25 online aptitude test. I’m talking about real, in-depth aptitude testing offered by people like Johnson O’Connor. They are a nonprofit organization that provides a day of aptitude assessment, as well as a clear report about what a person’s aptitudes might be. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve interviewed since 1973 who were pursuing a career because of some kind of crazy reason like, “we’ve always had a doctor in the family” or “my uncle owns a CPA firm and I always thought it would be a great business” or “my dad’s a great sales guy and I’m sure it rubbed off on me” or any other kind of cockamamie reason without ever knowing if they had an aptitude for science/medicine, accounting, or sales.
Aptitude testing should be done no later than your sophomore year of college to find out what you might be good at. You might think you’d make a great teacher, for instance, but find out from aptitude testing that you have absolutely no patience. You might think you’d make a great salesperson, but aptitude testing reveals that you have very little dominance and are totally risk adverse. So, please get your aptitudes tested.
Connect with your COLLEGE’S or UNIVERSITY’S ALUMNI in your city or the city you wish to live in. You can do this very easily through LinkedIn. You can contact every one of them about a job. Not only do very few people do this, but alumni, especially at some schools, are maniacal about helping students from their alma mater. Call or write these people and ask them for an audience even if it’s not a formal “interview.” Alumni love this kind of thing because it’s one of the easiest ways for them to feel like they are “giving back” to their school and they hardly have to go out of their way to do it. You are going to go to them. Be prepared to tell them that you are actively looking for a job once you get the face-to-face meeting and ask them for their help. Most of them will give it to you because you simply asked them to.
If you’re a college senior it’s too late for this, but you should’ve…when you were a sophomore… found at least one or two internships either while in school or during the summers. Students who graduate with internships on their record have a much greater probability of finding a good job faster than those who don’t. It doesn’t really matter whether these internships are paid or not and it may not even matter how long they were. Internships tell prospective employers that you really care about your future.
Also, this probably goes without saying, if you work your way through college to earn money, prospective employers are absolutely gonna love that. Being involved in a number of leadership positions and extracurricular activities is also positive…as long as your grades are decent.
The population for college students is shrinking. Colleges and universities are petrified with the fact that they are going to be fewer and fewer students. It might be a very good idea to simply ask the admissions people at your prospective college or university, “what is the starting salary of the graduates from your school?” In other words, “if I’m going to invest more than $100,000 in your institution, what am I going to get for it?” Don’t be surprised if the admissions person you’re speaking to gives you a blank stare and says they don’t know. Tell them to find out and get back to you. After just one year of being asked this by prospective students at colleges and universities, they will come up with an exact response to the question. So, what is going to be your ROI? Most colleges and universities have never had to answer that question, because they really didn’t care. But now, if the consumer is asking that kind of question they’re going to have to answer it.