My sisters, brother and I all landed high-quality jobs with marquee companies following graduation from college. It was a lot easier back in the 80s and 90s—you could interview on campus and apply locally through job ads. Throughout college we all worked, providing us with valuable work experience that gave substance to our resumes. Connections weren’t the big deal they are today which was a good thing considering I grew up in a small house (where I shared a bedroom with my two sisters), had a long, hard to pronounce, Italian last name and my network consisted of retail store managers and the publisher of the local paper. Despite these limitations, we were still highly employable. After college, we went on to work for Procter & Gamble, UPS, The Children’s Hospital of Boston and a global advertising agency. Our careers have, over the years, been enhanced by our entry-level good fortune.
Today’s recent graduates enter a far more competitive world than my siblings or I knew. In 1992, the first year that BLS.gov started tracking this data, there were 26.9 million college grads in the labor force. Today there are 47.1 million, a 75% increase. Add to that a more complex landscape for finding jobs (social media, a multitude of job boards, etc.) it is not surprising that young college graduates are struggling to find work and often find themselves in jobs that do not require a college degree such as bartending, retail sales, etc.
The economic impact of unemployment or underemployment (working part time or in jobs that are not commensurate with education) can be lifelong. “The earnings penalty can be as high as 20 percent compared with their peers who find employment early, and the earnings deficit can persist as long as 20 years,” according to an IMF report in March, 2012.
Today, CareerFuel launches Campus CareerFuel™, job-search resources and success stories targeted to the young professional’s needs. Whether it is using Twitter to net a job or internship or being inspired by a young intern’s problem-cum-successful startup, CareerFuel’s free Young Professional Guide is the prerequisite for getting (or creating) a high-quality first job today.