Why Is It So Hard To Find A Job?

Heidi Cope
by Heidi Cope
Get The Job, Guides - 11 months ago

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So you’ve finally graduated. It seemed like graduation would never come, right?

But after the celebrations and the countless pictures, you may find that you are stuck at home with a massive worry that you really need to find a solution for.

The problem?

Finding a job.

Why Is It So Hard To Find A Job?

  • Because more people have college degrees today than in the past, and the value of your degree isn’t what it used to be. You need to show you have other skills such as, public speaking, project management, leadership, etc.
  • Most employers want candidates to have some prior work experience, i.e. internships, externships, volunteer work.
  • There is an abundance of qualified candidates, and hence, competition is tough, which means your application can be nothing short of stellar.
  • Even if you have the above things down, if you don’t network, you are going to fall behind other candidates. Go out there, and talk to people who matter in your field.

Your friends understand the panic, but your parents may not.

When they graduated twenty or thirty years ago, finding a full-time job with only a bachelor’s degree was easy. They didn’t have to move back into their parents’ house because of high rent prices. They didn’t have to get a master’s degree, in order to be competitive.

So why the massive change?

Today’s America is a lot different than the America of thirty years ago.

There are plenty of job markets that just barely existed then — IT, computer software, data analytics, and many research avenues.

But despite that, many recent grads are struggling to find jobs. So what’s the holdup?

Why is It So Hard to Find A Job After College?

Every recent graduate knows the struggle. Those who are able to secure a job before graduation seem to be a rare breed.

Those jobs are mostly given to students who graduate with professional degrees like nursing and teaching.

Engineers and computer science students also seem to have luck finding jobs. But everyone else? Good luck.

So why is it so difficult?

Simply put:

Having an undergraduate degree is the bare minimum employers are looking for in candidates.

Hard to find a job

So what else are employers looking for?

1. Practical work experience (i.e. internships, externships, volunteering).

They want candidates who have practical experience working with the skills you learn in textbooks in college.

You may have spent hours reading about community organization techniques in a political science class, but have you ever actually worked or volunteered for a political campaign?

You may have experience interacting with groups in classrooms, but have you ever had to lead a diverse group of people other than your peers in the real world?

Recent grads have the ability to pass tests, but that is not necessarily what companies are looking for.

What do all of these attributes have in common?

They are skills and experiences that often require you to put in extra effort outside of the classroom.

But even if you do have a billion internships, and you’ve won volunteer of the year at a local nonprofit, you may still have trouble finding reasonable employment.

2. Sign of Responsibility (project management, leadership roles, etc).

Competition is tough, these days.

As more and more students are going to college, having a degree no longer makes you unique.

You have to step it up — get an advanced degree, complete an incredibly competitive internship, or even help make a startup shine.

Competition isn’t just from more candidates with similar degrees, it is also from more candidates from further away.

Before the Internet, you likely would apply to jobs locally, so the competition was restricted to your geographic location.

In order to be competitive, you need to show that you have what it takes to succeed — you can take on leadership roles, take initiative and accomplish tasks on time, and you are willing to learn things that you don’t already know.

3. People skills (public speaking, excellent interview skills, proven history of work with diverse populations).

These are skills and experiences that often require you to put in extra effort outside of the classroom.

Go out there, and gain experience working with groups and peoples that show your flexibility and openness, regardless of the situation.

But even if you do have a billion internships, and you’ve won volunteer of the year at a local nonprofit, you may still have trouble finding reasonable employment.

Because there are a billion steps you must take to land a job as a recent graduate, and for many, degree programs don’t help guide them through those steps.

You know what’s more difficult than finding a job?

Finding a full-time job.

Why is It So Hard to Find a Full-Time Job?

If it wasn’t hard already to find a job in the first place, it is even harder to find a full-time job.

The annoying reality that many hourly workers face in being given weekly hours just below full-time requirements is happening in America.

You may be asking yourself, “Wait what? Employers will hire someone hourly and then schedule them an hour or two below full time to avoid having to provide benefits to employees?”

Yup.

It can be difficult to find a full-time job, because employers don’t want to have to offer benefits packages to employees.

That means that you could be working 38 hours a week if a company’s full-time status is 40 hours a week and not receive health insurance and retirement benefits.

It is much cheaper to hire many part-time workers and not have to pay benefits than a full-time worker and have to pay their benefits — so why wouldn’t employers choose this option?

But surely not all companies just want to cheat employees out of benefits? Definitely not.

But the truth remains the same:

Competition for jobs is fierce.

Summary

So what can you do about the tight job market and a college degree?

Before going back to get a masters degree, consider skills you can develop and master that will make you stand out.

Go to job fairs and network — Ask representatives from companies what they are looking for in job candidates. If you find that many are searching for candidates who have certifications in different coding languages, consider getting certified in those first at your community college.

If they are looking for community engagement and leadership, then perhaps volunteering someplace that gives you leadership roles while you are applying to jobs would be a good idea.

Either way, finding a job can be incredibly difficult. But the worst thing you can do it sit at home and do nothing. There are many places where you can develop skills for free.

Network at job fairs, go to your community colleges free classes, start finding hiring managers to ask questions about what they seek in successful applicants.

The more active you are in your job search, the more likely you will land a job.

This may all seem too daunting, but don’t worry!

Zippia is a great resource for all the information on the job search process.

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