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Mind your P’s and… P’s

March 26, 2012

You hear it over and over again: The economy is so tough right now, companies just aren’t hiring…We are sorry you have to go through this. What does it all mean? The world is a different place these days and without an ounce of remorse, hiring managers alike are dropping the hat on new college graduates looking for a professional position. So what is the secret? How can we break this code and if so, what will this mean for thousands of college grads?

The story is all too familiar: A job is posted states that the necessary degree is a bachelor’s and that minimal experience is needed. This is an entry level position. So you go in expecting to interview well and talk up your college degree and the experience you DO have. You’ve interviewed well and the people like you a lot. There is only one problem… you are told you don’t have the experience for the job. If this sounds like you, you are not alone. Companies today are looking for experience in entry level positions. They want to see that you have extensive experience in the field and that you are competent in the specifics.

So for many recent college graduates in the arts and sciences, it becomes a “back to the drawing board” mentality. I have heard sociology, psychology, humanities, and even nursing students who have just graduated in the same situation. Nobody is willing to train them. In the same breath I hear accounting majors from 20 years ago that say, “I didn’t know shit coming out of college. I learned it almost entirely on the job.”

There has been a disturbing trend of this unwillingness to train people who have the drive and desire to excel at a certain job. While I acknowledge that no job is given, it is earned, a lot of college graduates including myself feel that they have worked for four years and feel that they should get a fair shot at a position. Let’s face it, many of the hiring managers and HR personnel have enjoyed the golden age with many companies hiring right off the streets and the barrier to entry was almost zero. However, they are now unwilling to train the next generation of workers.

So what is the code? How can we break through it and what does it mean for us moving forward? Well, the answer seems to be more schooling coupled with unpaid internships and just a sheer will to succeed. I will speak for myself in that I was turned down on my fair share of opportunities on account of my lack of “experience.” Because I have the will and the energy to not only get a position but excel and become the best, I knew that it was time for me to return to school, obtain a masters degree (which is now needed for entry level positions), and volunteer at a hospital. Luckily for me, one place that turned me down was able to offer me an unpaid internship with them and for that I am grateful.

The key for me and for others in my boat is to be gracious, a go-getter, and keep an open mind about options. No matter how hard it is and believe me I have been to the depths, there needs to be that spark. The spark that tells you to move on, be creative and do not lose hope. There will be more opportunities IF and only IF you are willing to go the extra mile. So for those saying, “I am sorry you have to go through this” your reply can become “I can only emerge stronger and more prepared for the road ahead.”

 

Thank you for reading and I hope this helps!

 

-Seth

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