Graduation 2012: Is it the most depressing time of the year?
This year nearly two million graduates will be vying for a limited number of jobs. A full-time salary with benefits sounds great however; few new grads will land one. A recent report from Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession found that just one in two college graduates earning diplomas during the years 2006 to 2011 is now employed full-time. And only 60 percent of 2011 graduates employed full-time are working in jobs that require four-year degrees.
Many of the nation’s leading newspapers paint an even bleaker picture for the class of 2012
High Student Loan Debt – USA Today
The average student debt load tops $25,000 in the U.S., while the job market for recent graduates continues to struggle. More than 95 U.S. colleges report that their 2010 graduates — the most recent data available — owed on average more than $35,000, and 73 colleges reported that more than 90% of the 2010 class had student loan debt, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success’ Project on Student Debt.
Underemployed – The Baltimore Sun
An analysis by researchers at Northeastern University in Boston estimates that last year, about 38 percent, or 760,000, of the 2 million employed young graduates with bachelor’s degrees were “Underemployed” — working jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.
Is this really the most depressing time of the year?
With all of this bad news no wonder some consider college graduation normally one of the happiest times for hard working graduates and long suffering parents, the most depressing time of the year.
All is not lost
In light of the dismal jobs outlook, high student loan debt and slow economic recovery, all is not lost. An employer survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), indicates that companies expect to hire 29,237 graduates this year, up 10.2 percent from 2011. Internship offerings are up 8.2 percent from a year ago. Job postings are triple what they were in 2010. The median starting salary for the class of 2012 jumped 4.5 percent to $42,569 from a year ago, the association reported.
3 Smart Job Search Tips for the Class of 2012
Bethy Hardeman who writes on credit, personal finance and the economy for CreditKarma.com, a free credit management website has come up with 3 Smart Job Search tips for the class of 2012.
1. Clean up your online profiles and get networking.
Your future employer can — and probably will — use your social network profiles during the employment screening process. A recent study found that “69 percent of recruiters have rejected a candidate based on content found on his or her social networking profiles.”
The good news is that nearly as many recruiters responded that they have hired a prospect based on his or her positive social media presence. After you’ve cleaned up your social network profiles, start using them to network with companies you want to work for. If you don’t already have one, create a LinedIn profile. LinkedIn is the top network used by recruiters.
2. Perform a financial health check-up.
Now that you know employers might do a credit check, find out where you stand by getting a copy of your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com and your free credit score at CreditKarma.com. For those looming student loan debt repayments, set up an account with ReadyForZero, which helps you prioritize your debt. Lastly, monitor your entire financial profile with a Mint.com account. You’ll be able to set up and adjust your budget based on your typical expenses.
3. Become a volunteer or an intern.
If you can’t find a full-time position right away, bolster your resume with some unpaid work. Students who completed an internship while in college reportedly earn nearly 15 percent more on average than those who did not. Check out VolunteerMatch and InternMatch to find a spot that fits with your schedule and skills set.
The Bottom Line
The Smart Job Searcher knows that graduation is truly one of the best times of the year! As you receive your degree take your destiny into your own hands. Yes you are competing in a difficult job market; yes you may have student loan debt and yes the outlook for the future may look depressing. But remember that you’re not alone you have a fabulous support system of your classmates, your college career center even +-your parents. Use them, lean on them they all have a vested interest in you and want to see you employed.