Nearly 1.5 Million or 53.6% of bachelor degree holders under the age of 25 were jobless or unemployed last year. It is projected that upon graduation, Millennials will be more than $25,000 in debt due to student loans. Instead of stepping into a salary job with benefits and 401(K), college grads are either unemployed or working as waitresses, servers and bartenders to pay off the student loans that haunt them after graduation.
After spending years of reading, writing and studying, students look forward to graduation so they can display everything they learned in college and prove that all of their hard work has paid off. However, in the past 5 years, this has not been happening as frequently as it used to. Now the question becomes, “How do we solve this problem of unemployment in recent college graduates?”
The rules of the game have changed, so we have to change our approach. When there were fewer graduates, any college degree was a valuable credential. Graduating proved to the hiring manager that the candidate could work towards a long-term goal and had the capacity for learning. Now that the market is flooded with new grads, the value of the diploma drops drastically.
Majors such as Engineering and Accounting have the lowest unemployment rates because these majors are skill-based and lead to a specific role. Liberal Arts majors do not typically lead into a specific field and those graduates have some of the highest unemployment rates. Today, employers are looking for candidates with a specific skill set. A recent report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers concluded that employers look for evidence of these 5 skills on a resume: Working on a Team, Leadership, Written Communication, Problem-Solving and a Strong Work Ethic. If you have these qualities, be sure to highlight them on your resume.
Let’s assume a student majoring in English does so because he or she has a passion for the subject. Reading, writing and analyzing are skills most practiced throughout English courses. Within this major, there are transferable skills that can be used in a variety of fields. Writing is a skill needed in every profession, especially marketing. The purpose of marketing is to entice consumers to buy a specific product. English majors have a way with words that no other type of student does. Seems like a perfect fit, right? Use your resume to highlight the skills most valued by an employer. Explain how you will apply this skill set to help an organization meets its business goals.
You do need a marketable skill set to find a job, but you also deserve to follow your passion. When choosing a major one, find that speaks your strengths and unlocks your passion. Within your coursework, develop the skills that make you an ideal candidate for employers. Internships are a great way to experiment. You can use an internship to make sure you would like to pursue a career in this field, and it also lets you show that you can apply what you have learned in college. You can fight this era of recent grad unemployment by demonstrating the value you offer an employer. If you are unsure to which fields your skill set might apply, a career coach may be able to help you.
Good luck in your job search!Trish Thomas founded The Resume Resource in 2009 to help people advance their careers with rewarding jobs that provide more than just a paycheck. As a Career Coach and Resume Writer, she provides her clients with the tools and strategies needed to achieve their goals and guides them through the job search process to make it less overwhelming and more successful.