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Recent Grads, Keep Your Head (And Morale) Up

It’s not the world you thought you’d graduated into, but, trust, you can make it work

College graduate at commencement with others

Recent grads should remain optimistic despite the current job market (Image: Thinkstock)

I was almost at my wits’ end—not to mention, my always supportive parents were starting to wonder when I was going to begin making real money (actually, money in general)— when I got an email about a possible job offer. This offer, which panned out to be my current position at BlackEnterprise.com, didn’t materialize until five long months after I crossed the stage into adulthood. And even now, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have found a job less than six months after graduation, and in my actual field of study.

Looking back on those countless nights surfing the Web for job leads and tweaking various versions of my resume (and cover letter) only to be up by 7am to make it to two unpaid internships, I can see why I was losing my normal optimism. I tried to remain hopeful knowing I’d graduated around the time when the economy was beginning to see noticeable job gains. This was pretty hard to do when the questions about what exactly I was doing and why I was working for free surfaced from loved ones, family friends and even associates.  But hey, I’d tell myself, it could be a whole lot worse, right?

It’s a sentiment I’ve heard from the Class of 2011, and to them, I’d say: It gets better.

Academia has churned up a new batch of recent grads and the unemployment rate is of little comfort this go around. The national unemployment rate is 9.2%, down 0.3% from this time last year. Not to mention, the unemployment rate for African Americans is 16.2%. It’s something graduates should be mindful of, but must not let the statistics shake them. Instead, keep your head up. There were three pointers that really stuck with me throughout my job search; ones I’d like to share with this latest group of graduates.

By any means necessary

Do what you have to do—point blank.  Although volunteering or participating in an unpaid internship is not the ideal post-graduate plan, it’ll get your foot in the door and one step closer to a job. Keep in mind you’re staying up on your craft and making well-needed contacts.

Don’t be a serial job applicant

Customization is key. In today’s job search, employment seekers need to ensure they are search-optimizing their resume.

Stay up on the latest information and trends within your industry

Use your newfound free time wisely by going to the library to peruse through your industry’s top trade publications. While there (or at home), browse the Web for additional resources and materials.

Looking back, a year and two months out the gate, these are tips that helped ease the expected stress of the job seeking process. All will work itself out.

Class of 2011, I bid you well wishes on your latest endeavors.



8 Responses to Recent Grads, Keep Your Head (And Morale) Up

  1. Timeka N. Williams says:

    This has got to be THE best thing I’ve ever read in Black Enterprise because it is relevant not only to my age group but also to the general state of things in our country. Kudos to Black Enterprise for remembering that the road to wealth starts before your late twenties/thirties and providing something that those just beginning to make “real money” can grasp. And you could not have chose a better writer to launch this endeavor. This sista clearly knows her stuff and she writes in a way that makes me feel like I’m getting advice from a trusted girlfriend. I’ll be coming back every week for more!

  2. Takiyah Butler says:

    As summer internships and travel abroad programs bring recent graduates back to reality, this is a well timed article. Persistence and ingenuity are definitely key to finding your way into your career. A little hard work and sacrifice never hurt nobody!!!

    Great article!

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