As if soon-to-be college graduates need any more reminding, the Associated Press reported Monday that one in two new graduates is jobless or underemployed. According to the news agency, job prospects for the class of 2012 are the lowest they’ve been in a decade.
These findings appear to be a rehash of what’s already been said countless times before. The media beats these negative messages into college students’ heads repeatedly: Good luck finding a job. Your major is in English or music? You might as well give up.
Though there’s no underplaying that our economy continues to struggle, the media continually sensationalizes the challenges that this presents for college graduates. Regardless of one’s major, there are certainly steps every student can take to weather the post-graduation storm.
As early as freshman year, students should take the initiative to learn about potential careers and get real experience. Imagine how impactful it would be if an underclassman attended and, that far ahead of the game, learned what types of jobs overlap with their field of interest and what skills recruiters look for.
No matter what, however, students need to be realistic. Students should not only research the careers that interest them, but rather explore different careers’ hiring potential. This is not to say that students should give up pursuing their dream job. Rather, they should take ownership and ground themselves in the fact that keeping options open and acquiring a transferable skill set might make the difference between employment and unemployment.
There’s no denying today’s college graduates face an unprecedented and difficult hiring climate. But by starting early, acquiring work experience, networking and being practical about the hiring prospects of the jobs they want, students can look past the media’s negative messages and put themselves in a much more attractive position to receive a highly coveted employment offer.
Jasmine Ako is a freshman majoring in business administration.