On May 19th I graduated from college- Quinnipiac University, to be precise. It was raining; which to a literature lover was perfectly fitting- in a novel, the weather always mimics the mood. And I was hysterical. The thought of leaving the comfort of my friends and the QU community was daunting. When my mother asked why I was crying, she laughed at me when I told her how I was feeling. She was crying too, but her tears were of pride and elation.
So, here we are… 4 weeks later, I am fresh out of college and still jobless, living in my apartment in this newly deserted college town with my roommate Cassie. Cassie is staying at Quinnipiac another year to get her Masters in finance. Most of my friends have recently moved out but many have returned to gather their furniture and say their final goodbyes. The other night, in an attempt to regain normalcy, a few of my friends had one last barbeque. Usually at our gatherings we discuss “important college issues,” such as who went home with whom that weekend and what dramatic argument someone witnessed or took part in recently. But not this time. Two of my friends started working just days after graduation and our conversation over burgers and brews went more like this: “So how long is your commute to work in the morning?” and “How early do you have to get up to make it to the office by 8:30?” It was such an adult conversation and only one week after we had graduated!
Despite the fact that some have moved on, my friends have made me feel better about not having my first job just yet because not many of them have jobs themselves. Out of my extended group of friends, a group of 25 (thanks to QU’s rooming policy of suites consisting of 6-8 people for three years), only four people have jobs and only five people are going to grad/law school. Two of the four who already landed their first job out of college were hired after interning at that same company senior year, and the other two succeeded after interviewing with several (yes, several) companies. Many others have summer jobs and internships, but no guarantee of a job in the field in which they received their Bachelor’s degree. Facebook reminds me every day that people are going on interviews or getting job offers or even starting new jobs, and yet I find that many people are still struggling to break into the professional world.
Why is it so hard for these intelligent, personable, hardworking graduates to find jobs?
Recently, I have been looking at everything- television, Internet websites, etc. - in terms of jobs, and the people who were hired, and what made their venture successful. As trivial as it sounds, someone had to be hired in order to complete the tasks necessary to be successful. So how did those people get so lucky? How did they land their job? I wonder how many people got their first job through a family member or a friend. What did they do to stand out? I have been on informational interviews, been on countless websites that advertise job openings, and even been to my Student Alumni Association’s table talks where alumni from QU discuss the “real world” with students. Nothing has worked out so far but I am staying hopeful.
I realize I ask a lot of questions, but how do I get the answers? People repeatedly tell me that it will all work out. Easy for them, they already have jobs. And I know that eventually, one day (hopefully soon), I will find that one person who will want to hire me. Until then, I have to keep applying, undoubtedly with more rejection, until someone sees my potential. Either that or my friend Jayme (who also finds herself unemployed at this time) and I will have to start our own business just so that we can say we have jobs.
So what is it that I, and the other jobless graduates, am doing wrong? Is it us, or is it the competition?
For information on internships and mentoring, click here. To learn more about finding a job after graduation, meet Chelsea and Dan. If you are thinking about starting a business, take a look at this ASU's student's success story.