Welcome to the week of June 7, 2010 on White Picket College.
I was stunned today when I did my weekly check of the CNN American Morning Education blog. Click here to see the video:
New grads face tough job market
Only 20 percent of all 2010 graduates will have jobs lined up after graduation. 20 percent! I knew it was low, but I didn’t think it was that low. Wow, compare that to when I graduated from my undergrad, in the flourishing and prosperous year of 2000. I remember everyone, literally every single one of my friends and classmates, having a job lined up before graduation. And many of them actually had to turn down offers from competing firms.
What a difference 10 years makes.
Cathleen Borgman, the director of on campus career planning at Fairfield University, where this video takes place, says to forget all the negativity and to get on that bike. Huh? Are you serious?
Right before she says this, the voiceover says on campus recruiting is down 44 percent this year. And that 2010 graduates are in stiff competition with the class of 2009.
Now I’m all about positivity or I try to be … but facts are facts. And if that was Ms. Borgman’s advice to me, “get on that bike, move!” I would politely ask for all my tuition back.
This video, I believe, highlights a bigger problem. Colleges do not have the correct resources to help graduates these days. Instead, I notice a trend where colleges have a more laissez-faire attitude to helping students find jobs. Take Ms. Borgman’s response for example. She had the opportunity of giving invaluable advice on CNN to graduates and she simply said “get on that bike, move!” Perhaps she was cut off, but I doubt it because CNN probably would have included invaluable advice for a ratings boost.
I was in a Master’s program from 2007 to 2009. I went to the career center at my school and enlisted the help of a great career counselor. I was very lucky. This guy was young, motivated, sharp and on point. He gave me invaluable advice on my resume and cover letter. It helped. I got a job.
Fast forward six months later, after I was laid off. I met with him again and he helped as much as he could again, pointing me to websites, special list serves, reviewing my resume and cover letter once again. Nothing worked. I was in the height of a bad economy, wanting to be paid what I deserved and about to graduate with a Master’s degree. I looked overqualified and too expensive on paper. I was the black plague to potential employers. They probably got a recent grad to do my job for half the price.
I called my school’s career center, this time as an alum. The great male counselor was no longer there, so I set up a phone meeting with one of the directors. She was nice … but guess what, she gave me the same information as the last guy — with the exception of my cover letter and resume, which were perfect already.
That’s when I realized, yes, the first guy was great, but these career centers only have so much at their disposal. They can only give certain info, and that’s what the problem is. Career counselors are trained for a good economy, not for a deep recession.
In this recession, soon-to-be graduates need contacts, names of professionals who are willing to help them. They need mentors and mentoring programs where the graduate is paired with a professional in their industry to help throughout the job search. They need seminars, classes, advice and tips from professional panels on how to be aggressive and get a job in this economy.
A great example of this is Ed2010.com, which offers panels and seminars on how to get your foot in the door in the publishing industry. This is a nearly impossible feat, but some manage to squeak in … with the help of Ed.
So my question is: why aren’t colleges doing what Ed2010 does? Who can these young people turn to? And quite frankly, why are they paying thousands to a college who won’t help with job placement?
I once had a friend tell me the best way to get a job is to select the place you want to work, find out where the employees go for happy hour, show up and smooze and get contacts. Not a bad idea.
Definitely better advice then getting on a proverbial bike and moving.
~ the WPC team
© White Picket College, 2010