The employment news in the United States is still grim. Hopes for a job recovery just three months ago have gone out the window as the last two months of reports have been dismal. Job prospects for college graduates have been bad, but they’re starting to pick up. It doesn’t help when we hear stories like the following on a daily basis -
Sally Cameron has an Ivy League graduate degree, and yet found herself tending bar. Mel Rodenstein earned a master’s degree in international affairs but was working in a “mindless” clerk’s job, eating rice and beans to save money.
Then there was the young woman who attended a good public university only to spend the first year after college driving around North America, with a friend and fellow struggling graduate. “There are no jobs anyway,” the woman said.
Context will help make those poor graduates stories become a little clearer. Those stories were originally written 20 and 30 years ago! Since graduation, all those students have enjoyed successful careers in the field of their choice.
There are many reasons the press likes to rail against education and you can read the full story here, but “two things about these stories have remained constant: they always feature an over-educated bartender, and they are always wrong.”
In truth, a college education does pay off. “Even as unemployment remains stubbornly high, college graduates are the only members of the labor force whose employment rate rose during the first five months of this year.” The unemployment rate for non-college graduates is even higher.
It is true that just having a college degree won’t get you a job. You need a strategy. Industries and business cycles are changing so fast, it’s hard to keep up. Those that do are rewarded for it. Some core skills are a base for competency regardless of the job. In a speech given in January, Peter Shankman advised the audience how important writing is. We may not do it with quill and parchment very often any more, but we still write for business. Successful people will know how to do it.
Job seekers are being advised that getting a job these days is about who you know. With social media, it’s now easier than ever to connect and reconnect with people you know from high-school, college or even a previous employer to get that contact for a new job.
A complaint many students make is they wish they had been more careful about selecting a major course of study. In fact, a recent Rutgers University survey found -
If you’re letting bad news about a college degree prevent you from going to school, you may want to investigate a little further. Finding a suitable career goal and the education to reach that goal could be the best move of your life.