Too Many Graduates Lack Job Search Skills

By   |  December 7, 2012

50% of recent college graduates are either jobless or underemployed. Most of these graduates are working at jobs that do not require the college degree just earned. Many are working at part-time, minimum wage jobs. With these statistics, many will face the harsh reality of being unable to repay their student loans on time, if at all. There must be a better outlook for these young adults who put so much time into preparing for their future. But are they really properly prepared? Too many business owners and HR professionals say, “No!”

We crank out college grads who think that great grades and perfect attendance is what will land the dream job they always wanted! Unfortunately, employers are looking for something well beyond a great GPA, and it’s time that our grads learned the one thing they are NOT learning in the lecture halls: how to actually look for a job!

Believe it or not, millions (yes… millions) of jobs go unfilled each year. This is a sad commentary, considering our current economic climate. With 50% of recent college grads without work, or with inadequate work, this is a statistic that should not even be on the books. Why, then, are businesses still faced with all these unfilled positions? Because too many applicants don’t understand what the employers are truly seeking in the people they hire. Poor resume upon poor resume finds its way to the desks of HR departments on a daily basis. If a candidate happens to make it to the interview process, the majority of candidates have no idea what they’re doing in the interview chair. Employers feel that job-search-specific skills are not given the attention that is vital to a college graduate’s successfully landing a job in his or her chosen career field. They don’t know how to market their degrees and acquired skills.

To most employers, the candidate who spent a year abroad on foreign exchange very likely does not have as much to offer as the college student who works part time at the local JC Penney. There, they may be learning about marketing, customer service and teamwork, as well as proving they can make it to work each day. The student who is all about academia and very little about the real world, demonstrates very little about how they will perform in the working world.

The bottom line is: these graduates need to understand what makes their employer prospects tick; what will make themselves employable. That is when the employment rate of our grads will go up, and the job vacancies will get filled. It’s all about working with a professional who knows how to lay out a strategic, productive job search. The sooner these grads act, the sooner they will realize the financial rewards of their degree…as originally intended.

Thomas Suing is a certified Career Development Facilitator with over 12 years of experience successfully advising students how to effectively compete in a tight job market. Find tips and free podcasts for college students and graduates at

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One Comment on “Too Many Graduates Lack Job Search Skills”  (RSS)

  1. I agree with you: getting a job really tests one’s ability to get a job, kind of like how a standardized test assesses how well a person takes standardized tests. And no, we don’t generally teach the skill of getting a job. Schools do usually have career centers, but, as you say, students think they don’t need them. They think the degree itself will get them the job. They’re mistaken, sure, but it’s really about teaching them the need first. It’s hard to treat someone if they don’t believe they’re sick, so we need to teach students that they need training in job seeking. They have to want it before they will do it.

    Enjoyed the post.

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