As second semester begins and graduation looms on the horizon for many of us, the race to find a job or get into grad school continues. For the past three years we’ve placated friends and family with ambiguous answers to the question every college student hears at least a hundred times over the course of their undergraduate career: “What are you going to do after you graduate?”
For those of us who are not lucky enough to have already secured a job after graduation, this seemingly harmless question has become a dreaded one, one with the power to make even the most confident among us come unglued.
I remember when I first came to Gustavus, fed with magical notions of never having to worry about finding a job because I attended a “good” (code for “private”) school. I was disappointed to find that there is absolutely nothing magical about job hunting, unless you consider a rising blood pressure and high levels of anxiety “magical.”
Why is it that many of us have such a hard time finding a job after we graduate? Perhaps one of the biggest roadblocks we face is the issue of experience. New talent is often ignored because companies only look for candidates that meet the dreaded “3-5 years previous experience” requirement. Honestly, how is anyone supposed to get any experience when they are continually shunned from the job market?
Companies also seek candidates who have several internships under their belt. While this is an easy feat for most students in the Cities, who are able to intern during the school year, as Gusties living in nearly complete isolation we are limited to summer and J-term, save the lucky few who are able to score an on-campus internship.
All in all, it is safe to say that the process of finding a job in this day and age is stressful and seemingly impossible at times. Many recent grads I know have been unsuccessful (even nearly one year out from their graduation) and are forced to apply for hourly wage jobs, jobs that certainly did not require a diploma with a whopping $200,000 price tag.
Perhaps one of the most important things to remember when searching for a job is to be persistent – apply, apply, apply and when in doubt, apply some more. While many of us are busy wallowing in our own misery over the concept of graduating and mulling over the fact that we won’t be returning to our beloved Hill next year, we should be spending more time tweaking our resumés and cover letters, the very first items we are judged by in the application process.
While the tone of this article is largely melancholy, do not view it as some sort of harbinger of doom in your search for employment. The bottom line is that we will all get hired eventually. It just may take some extra time and effort put forth on our end. Through all the fruitless searches we can be confident that our education at Gustavus is worth every penny. There are companies that are eager to accept new talent, they just may be harder to find. Until then, we are charged with the task of trying our hardest to become gainfully employed while trying to avoid developing stress headaches and stomach ulcers as a result of our job hunting endeavors.