It has been a rough road employment-wise for college graduate millennials in the past few years ... OK maybe rough road is an understatement. It has been torturous for most youth ages 18 to 24 to land decent paying entry-level jobs that are suitable for college graduates.
The unemployment rate currently stands at 11.5%, according to Bureau of Labor statistics, and pundits have blame everything from the faltering state of the economy, to the laid-back and technology-addicted mindset of the generation that refuses to conform to the old-workplace standards set by older work generations (a PS3 in every office sound good?). If you add up those people who have given up the hunt for a job, then unemployment almost touches 17%, a figure never seen since World War II.
I could dwell into various depressing statistics that point to a bleak short-term employment situation, but what’s the point of getting into student debts, legislative paralysis, poor hiring outlooks, pay increases, etc.? Let us forget all these things for the moment and concentrate on what is most important in a time of crisis and that is crisis management. Here are some things unemployed millennials need to start doing to get back up on their feet and get back into the job market.
1. Keep yourself busy
The worst thing you could do is sit all day playing your Xbox wishing for a miracle in the economic and employment situation in the country. The focus needs to be on making yourself more employable and honing your skills when you have the time to do so without the added stress of having a full-time job. Learn a computer program, take up a part-time job, volunteer at a community center or a hospital, etc. If you keep yourself idle for too long, the consequences are really depressing, so please avoid staring down that labyrinth.
2. Understand yourself
Back in the good old days when people got easily recruited out of college, the biggest mistake many of them made was taking up jobs based on pay-scale and not on personal satisfaction. Being unemployed, gives millennials an opportunity and some free-time to truly get to understand what it is that they really want to do and actively prepare themselves for that profession. Thanks to the internet the options to explore are many like unpaid internships, freelance work and apprenticeships which aren’t the best options if you need to pay the bills, but at least it gives you an opportunity to understand whether you’re cut out for your desired profession. Just remember to never stop learning.
3. Network constantly
The biggest irony of the social network generation is their inability to network in a professional and formal setting. If you are looking for a job, everyone in your network should let others know it. Prepare a professional updated resume and an eye-catching cover letter and start sending it across to potential employers. Make sure your family and friends in highly-bureaucratic institutions can flag your application or recommend you through their HR department with an added benefit to them if you get hired. Learning how to market yourself is probably what is going to distinguish you from the herd of millennials waiting to get a job. As a last resort, visit places you want to working at and let them know that you are willing, eager, and capable of doing a great job for them, it may pay off.
4. Avoid graduate degrees, unless absolutely necessary
Many people think that having an extra degree under their belts will give them better job opportunities, but the reality is that for most it only adds to their already overwhelming student debt. So as mentioned above, it’s better to do some cost effective self-learning and networking. Trying to wait out the storm in this case is not a smart move, in fact it could rob you of some great opportunities, imagine using that same money to start a small business or investing it. Of course if graduate school, without any full-time work experience, is a normal course of your desired profession, then by all means go for it!
The important thing to never give up the job hunt but not doing much about it only goes to show a lack of initiative, which is the worst attribute to show an employer. Here is a time for unemployed millennials to really self-reflect on what is important to them and they can be more prepared to face any challenge that awaits them.