20something profile: Jesse
I graduated from Montclair State University in 2011 with a major in Political Science and a minor in Public Administration. I feel that the transition from college into the real world is tough—it is tougher than the transition from high school to dorming at college your freshman year. In college, your world is your college campus; when you transition into the real world, you are competing and living with everyone. The competition for jobs, for example, is tougher.
After college, I continued to work at my school’s student recreation center until the fall semester; then I thought it was time to move on. While working at the Rec Center, I was also working on a political campaign on the weekends. After I left the Rec Center in the middle of September, I worked on the campaign three days during the week and during the weekends until it ended; I also helped clean up the campaign office after the campaign was over.
The campaign was finished by the end of November/early December. Starting in November, I was a selling consultant for Perry Ellis. It was a holiday season position, and I enjoyed it, but at this point, I do not see myself working in retail with no real, concrete way to move up. The job ended at the beginning of January, and after that point, I took an online class on Property and Casualty Insurance. I am now certified in Property and Casualty Insurance, and I am now applying to insurance companies that offer P and C as a product.
My career aspirations in college were to get a good, solid job in government. From my experiences as an intern for Senator Lautenberg’s office and as a field organizer for a political campaign in Essex County, I found that government and politics was alluring, but it was not what I thought it was, and I was looking for a career change 6 months after college.
A year after college, I have gotten the “bug” to go back into government and politics after working on a local campaign in my town. It was a great experience, and I felt I made a difference. My aspiration now is to find a stable job with a stable wage or salary, benefits, and the ability to grow. At this point, it does not matter to me where and what I do; the important parts are the job characteristics that I just mentioned.
Since I have graduated, I have applied to over 80 different jobs, went on over 20 different interviews, and received a couple of job offers. I have yet to accept one because of transportation problems or they did not come with a base salary (instead, your salary comes straight from commission).
Personally, I think that the economy and its slow growth are not leading to jobs as quickly as anticipated, but I think that the biggest issue is that the competition is at an all-time high. More people are applying to colleges than ever before, which leads to more people graduating college than ever before, which leads to more people looking for entry-level/bachelor degree level type of jobs.
Companies in the liberal arts sector are cutting jobs, not adding jobs. People our parents’ age are applying for the same jobs that recent college grads are applying for, which leads to even more competition. It is really tough out there, but I think there is hope. I think there is hope for people who are confident in their abilities, who have a clear and focused plan on what type of jobs they want, and who don’t give up on looking for a job.