New grads aren’t getting work. Even the Associated Press says, “more than 50% of young college graduates are unemployed or underemployed.” But that number doesn’t tell us if everyone employed is actually working full-time.
I manage High Tech Connect’s free career development program for college students and recent grads. I regularly talk with hundreds of early-career pros, trying to help them create successful careers. In the past few months, I’ve heard: “I’ll be starting a new part-time job soon, doing digital marketing, so I am looking for more work again.” Or, “It seems I can only find ‘part-time’ jobs. Nothing is really full-time.”
So, where’s the disconnect here? Why do I have clients clamoring for full-time, super talented marketing, communications and PR graduates, but students who say there are no jobs? Here’s what I think:
New grads aren’t coming in with enough experience.
Why? Most students think one internship is enough, but gaining experience with at least two or three relevant internships makes you a catch. The key word here being relevant. For tech companies, an “internship” at your local SPCA is volunteer experience—but not relevant experience. If that’s you, it’s time to volunteer or pick up a few part-time jobs…
Companies don’t want to commit.
Just like most new grads, companies are afraid of commitment these days. Hiring a full-time employee is an investment that takes money, time and training. With the economy and the way we work changing rapidly, companies want to “try before they buy.” Forget about the days of a 20-year stint with the same company. It doesn’t exist anymore.
Colleges aren’t preparing students for the “real world.”
With the exception of a few universities, most schools are out of touch with the working world. Students are taught to write five-paragraph, analytical papers filled with as much academic jargon as they can manage. Marketers don’t write that way. We’re all about being clever, punchy, brief. Sentences are two words long? We’re happy. In job interviews, a new grad who doesn’t have hands-on experience doesn’t always stack up to someone who has three years of professional work experience. Schools like San Jose State are making an effort by holding social media courses, but there should be that kind of change across the board.
There are a few factors that decide if a new grad gets hired full-time, if at all. But these are just a few things that companies, colleges and recent college grads should keep in mind. Here at High Tech Connect, I love getting superstars working with our High Tech ConNEXT program. We have 200+ smart, social-savvy and hard-working early-career pros in our network who are ready to work full-time. Contact us!