New grads entering the job market at the wrong time

I graduated from college in the early 1990s. At the time, I thought it was a terrible time to enter the job market. The country was in the midst of a recession. I knew it was going to be tough to find a job.

As it turns out, I didn’t have it so badly. I did find a job — albeit not one that paid very well — and began my illustrous career in journalism. My days of covering waste management and stormwater utilities were right around the corner.

Today’s graduates, though, have it far worse than I ever did. How’d you like to be entering the job market today? Unemployment is at a 14-year high. In October, 240,000 people across the country lost their jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

You can read this story in The Orion, serving California State University, that details the fears college students nearing graduation have regarding the job market. As it turns out, no one’s particularly thrilled with their chances of paying off those college loans any time soon. Many are even considering staying in school longer to earn a more advanced degree. One student is quoted as saying that a bachelor’s degree isn’t worth all that much these days.

These students, though, do have one advantage. Most of them can afford to take a low-paying job without having to worry about supporting a family.  They can work their way up the ranks to a better-paying opportunity. It just may take a bit longer than it once did.

For students just entering college, I have some advice: Get some real-world job experience. Acing your classes is great. But tackling real work looks much more impressive to potential employers. I worked most of my college years on a small newspaper, filing what I thought were immensely dull stories about the college board of trustees or the latest robbery at the local convenience store. But the experience I gained helped me land my first real newspaper job. Honestly, my employers didn’t care much about my grade-point-average or the volunteer tutoring I did.