The Onion, known for its satirical articles about politics, entertainment, and breaking news, published an article recently about college senior Kyle Huber looking forward to his post-graduation "demoralizing, and desperate job hunt".
The article hits the nail on the head when it comes to the challenging and dispiriting times most college grads face when job searching after graduation. The fact that it shows the problem of unemployment through a satirical lens leads to a fun read.
College grads are frustrated, and rightly so. No one looks forward to the long road of tireless job searching with little to no reward after spending years in school. Sounds pretty bleak. Does it have to be?
I get that a lot of grads start out their job search by looking at online postings, editing and re-drafting their resumes, and submitting dozens of applications to employers. Yet, I have a feeling most grads quickly realize these methods are faulty and won't get them very far. At that point, they tend to rethink their job search strategy, and get creative. Many grads have taken job searching to new and interesting levels, and continue to do so despite the fact that they are in a pretty bleak economic situation.
For example, I've spoken to servers at restaurants, many of whom are recent university and college graduates, who tell me a successful approach to job searching is waiting on tables. They get to know their clientele, chat with them, find out what they do, and if their interests match the work of their clients, they find out what opportunities are around. Much more appetizing than sitting in front of a computer all day, and why not get paid to job search?
I recently sat down for an interview with the vice-president of a boutique firm providing career counselling and executive coaching services. He said he became vice-president of the company because of an unpaid internship he had completed, as part of his college program, almost ten years before. When he graduated there wasn't a job waiting for him, and he found himself working for other organizations over the years and starting his own business, until he got a call from the president of the company, asking him if he was interested coming on board. Ten years may sound like a long time, but he was busy developing his career and achieving milestones along the way. He was the right fit for the role he now holds because a) he had completed an internship and b) he had developed himself professionally over the years in other work opportunities and business ventures.
The point I'd like to make here is that despite the gruelling and unrewarding aspects of job searching after graduation, life goes on and interesting opportunities still happen. Even for a lot of us graduates who have to work temporary jobs that aren't in our field, or that we are overly qualified for, we can still use creative job searching techniques to find out about opportunities. This may be in the form of networking, volunteering, creating a project that showcases our ideas or talents (a lot of people are using the web to do this) and expanding our opportunities to be social and meet new people.
Grads have a lot of talent, education, and skills to get them to where they want to be. It may take a while though. In the meantime, think of job searching as a full time activity that happens wherever you are. It doesn't have to be a 'sit at the computer and scour online job postings'. It can be more of a 'make each opportunity count by tapping into resources whenever they are noticed' kind of thing. More grads find interesting job opportunities when doing the latter, and it makes life more interesting, and more bearable, in the meantime.