Article - Underemployed

Twenty-two percent of recent college grad job seekers are underemployed, according to a recent survey of college graduates by the #1 entry level job site, "The last four years of slow economic growth has caused many students to take any job after graduation, even if it didn't meet their expectations," said Brian Krueger, President of "The net result is that there are a large number of underemployed entry level job seekers still looking for their first entry level job in their field of study."

The survey found that while many recent graduates are working, they are in a job that does't match their degree or their skill set - they are classically underemployed.

"What a humbling experience!" said Jonathan Coen, a May 2004 Computer Science graduate from the University of New Mexico. "I have a very technical degree from a great university and I have had to go back to a line of work I did before I got my degree."

Coen is not alone. Many graduates have found themselves in similar situations - searching for that ideal job that will fully showcase their talents.

"You spend years in school working hard, expecting it to pay off and graduate with a cozy job and a great salary," says Crystal Sadibar, May 2004 St. John's University Management major. "Then after graduation hits reality: you have to work even harder to get a job."

So why don't graduates wait for their ideal position to come along?

Some graduates are fearful of the possibility of unemployment. "I took the first job I saw," says JC, who graduated in June of 2004 with a Master's in Journalism from Northwestern University. "I had a number of unemployed friends who told me that anything was better than sitting at home with the folks, searching in futility for that ideal job. I was afraid I would end up like them."

Other graduates complain that even entry level jobs require experience. Gaelyn Staab, a May 2004 Cedarville University Multimedia Technology graduate points out, "It seems that no matter what the circumstance, I will not be hired until I have some experience, and this cannot be acquired until I have been hired. So there is the conundrum."

In other cases, it just took a little longer to get seriouis. Cara Banda, a January 2004 Rutgers University Journalism major, describes in this way: "After graduating, I wasn't ready for the 'real world.' Most of my friends were still in college, and I liked having few responsibilities."

Those who waited to get serious, now offer advice. Banda suggests using the career center at the university, as they can be a great help. She also suggests networking. "Tell everyone you know that you are on a job search, and most people are happy to help out."

No matter what methods they use in their search, all graduates agree to one thing: START IMMEDIATELY! "And oh yeah," says Sadibar, "There's no such thing as early!" Kruegar agrees: Don't wait until graduation to start your job search. Start as early as possible.

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