Post-grad (un)employment

Illustration by Maggie Vandeveer
Illustration by Maggie Vandeveer
Illustration by Maggie Vandeveer

As I begin my last year in college, I have been thinking more about my fate post-grad. Most of the people I know who have graduated, from VCU in particular, have had tremendous difficulty finding a career after they’ve graduated. No one wants to apply to a minimum wage job when you’ve spent the last four years earning a degree in order to obtain a well-paying job.

Those of us who are blessed enough to attend college, despite debt and no guarantee of a career after, tend to work hard to gain the proper education and experience to be the perfect candidate for a job. College seems overrated because you work hard, taking more credits than necessary, gaining debt due to student loans, and even with an internship at the end of it all, still can’t get a well paying job.

In a new show on ABC Family called “Job or No Job” recent graduates go on three interviews in the industry they want to work in. These jobs are usually out of state, placing the graduate way out of their comfort zone. This is a great opportunity for students — you’re being set up with three opportunities at three well-paying jobs in your industry, but then you get to the interview.

First of all, if you’re lucky enough, you learn what and what not to do at an interview: bring your resume, don’t curse, show your personality but don’t be overly obnoxious. But while people let you know, or it’s just common sense that your potential employer could be intimidating, you may not be equipped with the tools and tips to land your dream job. With proper education and preparation, college students should have no trouble landing a job, but, most colleges do not have your best interest at heart — just your money. Placing students in large classes and raising tuition.

Some employers aren’t willing to give graduates the proper opportunity to gain the experience they need to succeed in the work world. You get out of college with a degree and the most experience you’ve had was maybe the part-time job or internship you landed before you graduated. Yes, of course, there is always more to the hiring story, politics and such, but as a student, all you want is chance at the career you worked and studied so hard to go in debt for. Is it too much to ask for a $40,000 to $60,000 salary in order to pay off my debt?

My advice to all students, most importantly seniors: build your resume as much as you can. Intern smart, get paid for your work because not only do you deserve it but it’s a better look for you. Educate yourself. The college classroom is not your only source of knowledge. And lastly, network. In this world, it’s not about what you do, but who you know.

Opinion Editor, Monica Houston

_MG_8104 (2)Monica is a transfer student from Norfolk State University studying English. Her dog, Furby, is an in-office celebrity and frequently attends production and meetings with Monica.

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1 Comment

  1. I am always pleased to see the CT cover this topic, however, it saddened me that no mention was made of the free career and professional development services available to all VCU students and new alumni.

    The university has three career centers (VCU Career Services, School of Business Career Services and School of Engineering Career Services). Each is dedicated to helping students define and achieve their professional goals. All three centers assist students with: exploring career interests; job and internship searches; resume and cover letter development; interview preparation; networking skills and exploring graduate study.

    Students may schedule an appointment with VCU Career Services or visit us during our drop-in hours for quick assistance without an appointment.

    Last year, the three centers held 576 career and professional development events for students. More than 100 of those events provided students with direct employer networking opportunities. In addition, the three centers combined host ten industry-focused career and internship fairs each year.

    Our staff is incredibly committed to the success of students and we do empathize with the challenges some students face in finding post-graduation employment.

    As you said in your piece, "the college classroom is not your only source of knowledge." We hope that in the future you will make mention of the range of career development resources available outside of VCU's classrooms.

    Brian Nicholas
    Communications Coordinator
    VCU Career Services

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