The New-Graduate Paradox

One of the most frustrating issues plaguing college graduates today is the worry about getting your first job out of college. The start of the job search can be a daunting and exhausting task. However, here is some hope for all of you bright-eyed recent graduates. The Eco-Chic Economist blogger has discovered what is referred to as The New-Graduate Paradox:

No employer will hire you without experience, but you can’t get experience without getting hired.

This poses quite the problem for those who have worked part-time jobs during college but have yet to gain experience in the field relevant to their recent degree. Entry level jobs no longer have the same meaning that they used to.

Entry level really means at least 1 to 2 years prior relevant work experience when you read the whole description. How many college graduates really have at least 1 year relevant work experience to the jobs they seek out?

Before the onset of the economic downturn, entry-level workers fresh out of college were in much higher demand. Once the financial markets began to fall, employers added new requirements–primarily additional experience, to their definitions of “entry-level” jobs, therefore creating one of the causes of the immense difficulties recent graduates have faced as they entered the job market in the past two years.

Here are the hard-to-swallow reasons for the New-Graduate Paradox:

  • High Unemployment. The combination of layoffs, financial market crashes and foreclosures flood the job market with experienced workers that are unemployed or looking for a higher paying job. Recent graduates have little chance of getting hired when the market is full with workers who have racked up many years of experience. Basically there is less demand for young inexperienced workers in today’s job market.
  • Employers think experts get the job done. Employers don’t want to “take a chance” on new and creative minds.

Don’t let unfortunate circumstances get you down. Here are a few potential solutions if you find yourself in a similar predicament:

  1. Be enthusiastic. The majority of new graduates are willing to work longer hours for less pay than more experienced workers. Employers who hire new graduates have a leg up because, although possibly less experienced, new workers are often more enthusiastic about starting their career and can bring new insights to the job, all while accepting a lower compensation.
  2. Get an internship. Although the term “internship” often connotes a temporary position, use your ambition and dedicated work ethic to turn your internship into a full-time paid position.
  3. Start writing. Starting a blog or website is a great way to share your ideas with the world. It also keeps your professional writing skills up to par while still allowing you to show off your creative side.

If you are on the job search, taking these ideas into account may lessen the stress of the situation, and help you to land that dream job a little quicker.

What’s your story? Do you have any other advice for recent graduates to help them gain experience?

One Response to “The New-Graduate Paradox”

  1. Cassandra says:

    Even worse news is the idea that HR people are not even considering applicants that are not currently employed adding to the paradox! I love this post. I work in HR and a huge barrier I come across is the lack of recruitment’s ability to properly screen (not just scan resumes) applicants and draw out those that can potentially be a great asset to the company during the recruitment process. HR people are just now learning competency mapping and how to apply that to the recruitment process. People with several years of experience can also be the ones that are thinking traditionally and are complacent with old ideas.

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