Degrees of Dumbness for New Graduates
You have to congratulate anyone who can make it through four years of college, especially if they did it in less than six years. But once you have finished with the congratulations, it's time to turn on the sympathy. I mean, you also have to feel sorry for anyone graduating in 2010. What they have a lot of is college debt. What is in short supply are job prospects.
It's true. Unless you graduate with very special degrees and talents, your chances of finding a job are slim, slight and rotten at best. Who are those special graduates voted most likely to land a job? Well, if you majored in being a star of a vampire movie, you're in luck. There are plenty of openings. And if you have a degree in foreclosing on homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages, be of good cheer. There are positions galore. For budding engineers, software developers, doctors and lawyers — forgetaboutit. You could have studied art history!
For those graduates with enough enthusiasm to make an attempt at job hunting before returning home to live with Mom and Dad, Yahoo! HotJobs offers "10 Job-Search Mistakes of New College Graduates" by Charles Purdy. In turn, Purdy offers up Andy Chan, vice president of career development at Wake Forest University — one of the few people I have come across who is actually optimistic about the job prospects for recent graduates.
"Organizations are very interested in hiring young people because they have a lot of energy and are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done," says Chan. As zero-energy employees who are willing to do whatever it takes to avoid getting the job done, do we really need to waste any sympathy on the collegiate job hunters? I think not.
But maybe we are being selfish. After four years of toga parties and beer busts, America's young people have the right to experience the misery of having a job, even if it's yours. With this spirit of generosity flowing like frosty flagons of hefeweizen at the campus tap, let's look at a few of Purdy's mistakes.
"Not creating wide networks" is job-search mistake No. 3. Based on recent polling, Purdy reports that 57 percent of the recently hired attributed their success to networking. "Use your parents', grandparents', and friends' networks to help you in your post-graduate job search," adds career expert Liz Ryan.
I'm not sure this is a terrific idea. After spending hundreds of hours to achieve a bachelor's degree in structural engineering, do you really want your Nana to start calling potential employers with a plea to "give little Jimmy a job on your construction site? He was so sweet when he was 5 years old and running around in his poopy diapers."
"Misusing the Internet" is mistake No. 5. Purdy quotes author Tory Johnson, who reveals, "New grads don't use LinkedIn — it's not sexy like Facebook or Twitter." But LinkedIn can be extremely sexy, especially when you post photos of yourself in a thong, jumping out of a cupcake at your graduation party. Besides, who would want to be hired by the stuffy corporate types who use LinkedIn, when, with a click of your mouse, you can send your resume to every Kardashian on Twitter.
Mistake No. 7 is "setting expectations too high," and columnist Purdy once again relies on author Johnson who informs us "in this economy, the first job should be about finding a position where you'll learn a great deal, you'll be super busy and you'll be surrounded by lots of people." Call me paranoid, but it does sound like they're talking about your job, except for that super busy part.
"Not taking the job interview seriously" is mistake No. 9. Referencing yet another career-advising author, Jay Block, Purdy suggests that new grads are "often unprepared for tough (but standard) interview questions, such as 'where do you see yourself in three years?'"
Frankly, I'd be amazed if interviewers still ask the "Where do you see yourself?" question. If they do, it's likely to be followed by, "Do you think the Model T will catch on?" Here's my best answer: In three years, five years or 10 years, you see yourself right where you are now — in college. You've got coed dorms, gourmet meals and the opportunity to study art history.
Trust me, it's a whole lot better than a job.
Bob Goldman has been an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company in the San Francisco Bay Area. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at email@example.com. To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
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