It’s no surprise that college grads are looking for work.
As we (finally) escape the bone-freezing chill of winter (for most of us at least) and enter the allergy-laden embrace of spring, we look to the horizon with the knowledge that college graduation season is just around the corner. And with it, the seasonal influx of eager cover letters, padded resumes and pages of references, compliments of those hopeful new leaders of tomorrow as they step into the world looking to begin their career.
This raises the all-important question; why, with so many fresh, prospective employees and so many offices, employers, and company representatives searching for fresh faces, are these same qualified, degree-wielding graduates having difficulty getting started on their career path?
Several years ago when I was embarking on this journey myself, I had the chance to interview with a broadcasting station near my home. I was excited beyond words – the opportunity advertised lined up perfectly with my degree and career goals, a line of work I was highly interested in, and the convenience of being so close by made it all seem too good to be true. Fast-forward to my interview that week, and I was instead met with nothing but disappointment and frustration. The actual position bore no resemblance to the posting I had so eagerly responded to, with no relation to my interests or area of study. From conversation it was immediately obvious that the job was not one that would take my career down the long-term path I desired. And I learned that I would not even be working from the building where I was interviewing, a mere 15-minute drive from home; instead I would be located at a partner building three counties away. In a word, I was not impressed. I felt deceived.
In speaking with friends and coworkers on the subject, I was surprised to learn that I’m not alone in my experience. It seems everyone could share a similar story of a job turned down from feelings of deceit, of wasted time pursuing what was soon revealed to be a false hope. The reality of these situations was very different from what was advertised, leading numerous people like myself and my friends to spend valuable time and resources that we otherwise would not have, had we simply know the truth up front.
Admittedly it can feel sometimes as if grads, desperate for work experience, are purposely targeted with padded or plain dishonest job postings. Even when this is not actually the case, a vague or carelessly worded posting invites an influx of young, susceptible candidates who are likely not going to be what you’re looking for; a simple misunderstanding about expectations that could have been so easily avoided. So please, as graduation season fast approaches, I ask you to remember my story as you keep these up-and-coming applicants in mind. Fishing from the biggest possible lake doesn’t amount to much when the catch you’re searching for is waiting in the small, quiet pond.