Getting your first job is an exhilarating feeling, well at least it was for me. When I got my job off from Big Retail it was a feeling that I will never forget. During the interviewing process I felt like I did well and showed enthusiasm for the job. I received formal letter on company letterhead saying that they wanted me to work for them. Amazing. I felt like an adult because I would not need to rely on parents for financial and residential support.
Back in 2000-2004
The job market for a finance major back in 2000 was strong but I had some cold feet due to stock market instability and “irrational exuberance”. So I decided to take a chance with Big Retail and work on the selling floor as a manager. I lasted over 4 years and was able to get promoted to Corporate Life and haven’t looked back.
After 9/11 quite a few of my fellow college graduates lost their jobs due to the financial insecurity several big companies felt. At my company we hired more seasonal workers than usual to help out the NYC economy. So I was fortunate to have some level of job security for a few years.
What I see now
Nowadays college grads face numerous obstacles getting their first job. It’s not enough to have a bachelor’s degree anymore for some fields. Employers want work experience, a paid internship and/or a degree from a prestigious school.
I see plenty of college grads working as baristas, sales associates or low level administrative jobs. However recent data does show an uptick in salary. Graduates with degrees in engineering, computer science and accounting are getting better starting salaries than in recent years. Graduates with liberal arts degrees are having a harder time though. As I reference earlier, liberal arts majors are having a harder time finding higher wage employment.
The one thing that I have to mention is the effect student loan debt has on recent graduates. I cannot imagine having a $100,000 debt right after graduation.
Advice for upcoming Grads
If you graduating in the next couple of years my advice would be to get an internship and network with with alumni groups and recent college grads in your social circle. I would also clean up all social media accounts and get rid of all embarrassing photos and political posts. Create a LinkedIn profile to highlight your skills. Be persistent and send out resumes to every company your interested in your field.
How was the job market when you graduated? Did you get a job right away right away?
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