Career facts that college doesn’t always teach you
I found a good article on U.S. News called “10 Career Facts You’ll Learn After College” by Lindsay Olson. It has some important facts about the job market that twenty-somethings may not know about until after they’ve graduated college and experienced the real world for themselves:
10 Career Facts You’ll Learn After College (money.usnews.com)
The best point I think this article makes is that employers look for skills and experience more than anything else, including your college and GPA. I’m an Ivy League graduate with a 3.7 GPA, but when I went on interviews, I was rejected because employers preferred candidates with more work experience, even if they didn’t have as strong of an academic background.
Lack of experience is a problem that I’m sure many twenty-somethings struggle with, especially in this economy, where there’s greater competition for entry-level positions from older, more experienced applicants. It also brings up a frustrating catch-22, which Ms. Olson sums up best:
College does not prepare you for a job. Nothing but job experience can do that. And, of course, you need job experience to get a job. It’s a vicious cycle to which you’ve got to find your own solution.
So what are the solutions? There are internships and volunteer positions, which Ms. Olson mentions in her article. But not all twenty-somethings are able work for free, especially when they have to pay off their college loans.
My advice to twenty-somethings would be to find a way to display your skills without having to be hired. For example, my field of interest is writing, which is one of the reasons why I blog: to build experience even though I don’t have an official writing position.
A blog that I do in my spare time might not look as good on my résumé as a job, or even an internship, but it shows that I have the initiative to create my own opportunities — and that I write because I enjoy it, not because I get paid for it.
If you’re still feeling hopeless about your career path, I’d recommend point #10 of Ms. Olsen’s article (“It’s okay to change your mind”). As difficult as it is to change careers, it’s easier to do so when you’re young and still have many years ahead of you.