Staggering Statistics — Get a job or go to graduate school?

The number of college graduates failing to get a job offer after school has become way too large. Recently, a poll showed that 50 percent of recent law school graduates had failed to receive a job offer in the profession after finishing the arduous coursework.

What has happened? Sure, we’re in the throes of a major recession, and companies are not growing at the rates found in previous decades. But, as usual, there’s always more behind the numbers than we see at the surface.

Many undergraduates are opting for a master’s degree while the job market stays cold. Most hope for an improved economy in a year or two, meaning better job opportunities will be present. Some people are “taking a year off” to see what happens in the marketplace while they work as wait staff and order takers.

But, while we focus on the people who don’t have job offers, it’s probably insightful to look at those who actually did get jobs. What, specifically, have they done to land a professional position in these trying times?

I will speak from my own experiences as a college instructor and employer. First, many of the graduates who did get jobs held similarities that put them above the rest.

What are these, you ask?

1. Successful job candidates come out of four-year programs with a wealth of internship experience in the applicable job fields. There’s nothing better to distinguish yourself from the pack than solid, meaningful internships.

2. Those landing jobs indicate they are “flexible” and “mobile” in their job quest. This means you are willing to relocate within days of getting an offer and flexible in the tasks and titles you inherit.

3. Successful job seekers have learned how to properly market themselves and do such innovative things as create a website for resume posting and writing samples for an employer to review.

4. An eager and somewhat aggressive job seeker will not become easily discouraged when he/she receives a rejection letter. Rather, the person simply redoubles his or her efforts and intensity in getting that very first professional position.

So, as with about everything in life, those individuals who try hard, think strategically, gain experience and market themselves effectively will have an advantage over those individuals less inclined to approach the job market armed with all the tools (and sharp ones at that!) needed to win in this incredibly tight marketplace.

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