We work in the economy we have! A college degree was supposed to guarantee a good job and an 80% lifetime wage premium over people without college degrees. But in the economy we have, getting a college degree no longer guarantees a good job, or indeed, a job of any kind: 53% of all college graduates under the age of 25 are unemployed or doing work that they could have done without a college degree. The payoff for getting a college degree is declining while the risk of becoming a ‘debt serf’ due to crushing student loans is rising. At present, there are far more people with college degrees than there are high-paying jobs for people with degrees – even law degrees, MBA’s and PhD’s.
From a Human Resources’ perspective, it is important to have a ‘value added’ portion to your cover letter and resume….something that says that you are unique. Showing that you studied for four to five years to obtain a college degree use to do this but that was when the number of well paid jobs expanded at a faster rate than the number of college graduates. This is simply no longer true. I remember seeing an article in the New York Times during the height of the recession that a restaurant was opening on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (a new restaurant opening at that time was an anomaly in and of itself) and 12 PhD’s applied for one kitchen position. The article never informed as to whether any PhD was offered the open positions.
…Back to ‘value added’...First of all, if you are unemployed then you have all the time in the world to look for a job…develop a system for job hunting. Learn to organize and keep track of cover letters you send out, phone conversations that you have, interviews (this will be easy for you will probably not have many) that you have. Learn to sell yourself in your cover letter, your resume and on the job interview. What is it that you can offer that others can’t? People need to realize that there is no such thing as a hidden job market. It is there and you have to keep on looking until you find it. You may not know about a job opening, but it is not hidden. Finding a job is all about catching a potential employer at the right time when they need someone with your skill set. Finding a job is all about how you come across in your cover letter, your resume and the interview…that is the bottom line.