By Bonnie Easton
Traditionally, graduating from college has signified that the graduate is ready to find a job and move away from home. Postrecession times, however, dictate a new scenario. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate for adults ages 20 to 24 was 14.5% in August 2011. A college education used to ensure a well-paying job, but now many first careers are on hold until the economy improves.
The median salary for students graduating in 2009 and 2010 was $27,000, $3000 less than graduates who entered the workforce from 2006 to 2008, according to a WorkTrends study. Many work as restaurant servers, retail clerks, and customer service reps. They live with their parents because they can’t find sufficient employment. The good news is that the National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that employers are expecting to hire 9.5 percent more graduates in 2012 than they did in 2011, with an average salary of $51,000‚ six percent more than graduates in 2011.
According to a study released in May 2011 by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, young job seekers use two methods to find a job: Internet websites like Monster (http://www.monster.com) and CareerBuilder (http://www.careerbuilder.com) and family contacts. Only a third used college career services, and only 16 percent relied on employment agencies or government unemployment offices. Surprisingly, only 11 percent turned to social networking sites like Linked In (http://www.linkedin.com) and Facebook (hhttp://www.facebook.com).
Many recent grads also check Craigslist, but research showing that a majority of job ads are scams and recent reports in Ohio of the murders of three separate job seekers who answered ads on this site should make librarians wary of recommending it. Students who come from a lower socioeconomic status are at a disadvantage, since their parents do not generally have the connections to assist them. The graduates with the best chance of success are those who majored in engineering, health care, business, math, and computer science.
How to boost opportunity
There are steps that Millennials can take to increase their odds of success:
- Target companies and industries to find a good match for their skills.
- Look for jobs at smaller companies and nonprofits. According to the Small Business Administration, small organizations have generated 64 percent of all the new jobs over the past 15 years.
- Explore relocation. Being more mobile increases the chance of gaining a job offer.
- Network in face-to-face meetings as well as online. Conduct an active job search through networking. Ask anyone they come in contact with for leads. Use technology savvy on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com) and Facebook applications such as BeKnown and BranchOut. Monitor Facebook and Twitter accounts in order to delete compromising pictures or postings. Professional organizations (see ow.ly/86OWW) may provide mentors and job listings.
- Talk to professionals in their chosen career field and ask for advice. Informational interviews are a great way to network with people and learn about day-to-day operations.
- Try working with temporary staffing agencies to gain experience and make connections.
- Keep a positive attitude and pay attention to soft skills. Employers hire upbeat people with energy and enthusiasm. They are looking for problem solvers who work well in teams and possess oral and written communication skills.
- Use college Career Centers. They may offer career fairs and visits from recruiters as well as résumé reviews and mock interviews.
- Return to school if there are long-term plans to complete an advanced degree or certification. Now might be the best time.
How libraries can help
Libraries can provide current materials that contain suggestions and practical advice about the most effective methods to finding a job, getting a first apartment, handling financial matters, and living on one’s own. Some of the major authors who should be on library shelves are Martin Yate (his Knock ‘em Dead series), Richard Nelson Bolles (What Color Is Your Parachute? series), and résumé-writing experts like Wendy Enelow, Susan Ireland, David Noble, and Susan Britton Whitcomb.
Prerecession job search methods are not as effective as they once were. Weed out older materials written before social networking became a factor.
The following bibliography offers a selection of books and web sites that will help young job seekers move on with their careers. More suggestions on economic issues and life skills can also be found in previous LJ Collection Development articles: Tera Moon’s Making Money, on the Side (LJ 3/1/11; ow.ly/829hg), Lucy Roehrig’s The Rise of the Locavore (LJ 4/1/11; ow.ly/82ajR), and Sarah Holm Norton’s The Craft of Daily Life (LJ 11/1/11; ow.ly/82ap2). Our World of Work, by this author (LJ 2/1/10) (ow.ly/86Pzka), contains many more resources for job seekers.
Starred items () are essential for all collections.
HOW LIBRARIANS CAN HELP
American Library Association. How To Get a Great Job: A Library How-To Handbook. Skyhorse. 2011. 176p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781616081546. pap. $14.95.
How to Get a Great Job explains the steps to the job search process and what resources job hunters can expect to find at their local library.
SURVIVAL AFTER COLLEGE
Blake, Jenny. Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want. Running. 2011. 304p. illus. ISBN 9780762441273. pap. $17.
Life offers many challenges and opportunities postcollege. Blake provides insights into how new grads can figure out exactly what they want and focus on achieving it.
Kobliner, Beth. Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties. 3d ed. S. & S. 2009. 352p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780743264365. pap. $16.
Kobliner, a personal finance journalist, has written a primer for young people on financial planning. The new graduate needs to deal with paying off student loans, creating a monthly budget, buying insurance, and much more.
Life After College. 2d ed. Hundreds of Heads Bks. 2010. 424p. ed. by Nadia Bilchik & Ricki Frankel. ISBN 9781933512907. $16.95.
This compendium includes interviews with hundreds of recent grads and experts who share experiences on everything from deciding where to live to handling money.
Schonberger, Chris & others. Gradspot.com’s Guide to Life After College. Manhattan Prep Pub. 2011. 392p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781935707233. pap. $14.95.
Advice in the book and on its accompanying website (http://www.gradspot.coma) cover such topics as finding an apartment, health care, credit, and much more.
Tyson, Eric. Personal Finance in Your 20s for Dummies. Wiley. 2011. 264p. illus. index. ISBN 9780470769058. pap. $12.99.
Best-selling author Tyson excels at explaining complicated money matters in simple terms.
ESPECIALLY FOR NEW GRADUATES
Bailo, Paul. The Essential Phone Interview Handbook. Career Pr. 2011. 192p. ISBN 9781601631541. pap. $13.99.
Many employers today narrow down the high number of potential job candidates by a telephone interview. Bailo serves up tips on how to pass that first hurdle to gainful employment.
Bolles, Mark Emery & Richard Nelson Bolles. What Color Is Your Parachute? Guide to Job-Hunting Online. 6th ed. Ten Speed: Crown. 2011. 192p. illus. index. ISBN 9781607740339. pap. $12.99.
Successful job candidates use the Internet effectively. These father and son career experts offer a directory of websites covering all aspects of the job hunt.
Chiagouris, Larry. The Secret to Getting a Job After College: Marketing Tactics To Turn Degrees into Dollars. Brand New World Pub. 2011. 206p. bibliog. ISBN 9780982765425. pap. $14.99.
Chiagouris, a professor of marketing at New York’s Pace University, explains to students how to market themselves to employers.
Dodd, Laura. Dig This Gig: Find Your Dream Job‚ or Invent It. Citadel: Kensington. 2011. 288p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780806532455. pap. $14.95.
The author helps recent college graduates explore their opportunities in deciding on a career. Features interviews with people from all types of jobs. (LJ 5/1/11)
Doyle, Alison. Internet Your Way to a New Job: How To Really Find a Job Online. 3d ed. Happy About Bks. 2011. 152p. ISBN 9781600051999. pap. $19.95.
Doyle, the About.com expert on job search, gives practical advice on all the ways job seekers can use the Internet. Her website (jobsearch.about.com) covers every step of the job search process.
Holland, R. William. Cracking the New Job Market: The 7 Rules for Getting Hired in Any Economy. AMACOM: American Management Assn. 2011. 256p. illus. index. ISBN 9780814417348. pap. $17.95.
Human resources expert Holland explains how the job market has changed in the present economic times. He tells job seekers what it takes to find a job in today’s market. (LJ 9/1/11)
Phifer, Paul. College Majors & Careers: A Resource Guide for Effective Life Planning. 6th ed. Checkmark: Facts On File. 2008. 294p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780816076659. pap. $16.95.
Often, college students decide on a major with little thought to where they can use the degree. Phifer, a director of a community college career services department, explains what jobs are available for 60 different college majors.
Pollak, Lindsey. Getting from College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World. rev. ed. Harper: HarperCollins. Jan. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9780062069276. pap. $16.99.
For the college student as well as the graduate, this volume will counsel on modern job search methods.
Pounds, Marcia Heroux. I Found a Job! Career Advice from Job Hunters Who Landed on Their Feet. JIST Works. 2010. 208p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781593578145. pap. $12.95.
Pounds, a journalist for business affairs for a Florida newspaper, reports real-life success stories of job hunters in today’s economic climate and the methods they used.
Salvador, Evelyn U. Step-by-Step Cover Letters: Build a Cover Letter in 10 Easy Steps Using Personal Branding. JIST Works. 2010. 256p. illus. index. ISBN 9781593577803. pap. $19.95 w/CD-ROM.
In this companion to her book Step-by-Step Resumes (below), Salvador shows how to write a cover letter that will highlight accomplishments. Included is a CD-ROM with templates.
Salvador, Evelyn U. Step-by-Step Resumes: Build an Outstanding Resume in 10 Easy Steps! 2d ed. JIST Works. 2010. 304p. illus. index. ISBN 9781593577780. pap. $19.95
As a Nationally Certified Resume Writer, Salvador created worksheets and instructions on how to write an effective résumé. She explains how job hunters need to learn to use personal branding and keywords to catch the attention of employers.
Waldman, Joshua. Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies. Wiley. 2011. 360p. illus. index. ISBN 9780470930724. pap. $19.99.
Most college students are tech-savvy and use social networking to keep in touch with friends and family. Social networking expert Waldman tries to expand on that fact in demonstrating how to use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, video résumés, and more in a job search.
Helpful subscription data bases that many libraries provide today include Reference USA (Infogroup), which allows users to search 14 million employers, and Career Transitions (Gale), which offers assistance with all aspects of the job search from, writing a résumé to interviewing. Job seekers use ReferenceUSA to compile lists of possible employers. It provides accurate information with contact names, news articles, and company websites.
Here are a few websites geared to recent college graduates
The Black Collegian Online
Dedicated to serving a diverse population, the site has great information for college students and recent grads on job hunting, researching employers, and accepting offers.
The Career Guide to Industries
The Occupational Outlook Handbook
Both are essential print resources for libraries and are available full text online from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For new job seekers. This is an aggregate of information from such websites as O*NET (www.onetonline.org) and the mega‚ job search engine SimplyHired (www.simplyhired.com), with job search tips and videos of mock interviews.
Sponsored by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, this site contains sample résumés, interviewing tips, and informative articles about job searching.
Devoted to college students and graduates, this partner to the popular Monster.com job board features job search advice and internship tips, as well as entry-level job postings.
Sponsored by 22 federal agencies, this website assists users with financial life events. Includes financial worksheets to help with personal budgeting.
Practical Money Skills for Life
Young people can learn how to handle their money and stay out of debt with the advice provided here.
Randall Hansen maintains Quintessential Careers, one of the major job search websites available. It contains articles and a directory of helpful sites aimed at college students and recent college graduates.
The federal government offers college students and recent grads entry-level jobs and internships.
THE DEVELOPING SCHEDULE
March: Travel in Great Britain, the London Olympics and Beyond
April: Citizen Activists (the many faces of political engagement, Presidential election)
May: The Art of the Cake (cake decorating)
June: The New Extended Family
July: Folk Remedies (What’s Bunk, What’s Not)
August: Green DVDs
September: Historical True Crime
October: African American Fiction on Audio
To submit titles (new and/or backlist), contact Cynthia Orr four to six months before issue dates listed above (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bonnie Easton has been the Career Specialist for the Career Center of the Cuyahoga County Public Library in Northern Ohio for the past five years. The Career Center website is cuyahogalibrary.org/careerexpert.aspx