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College Grads Facing Startling Unemployment Rates

College Grads Facing Startling Unemployment Rates

How will '09 graduates be able to compete in the decaying job market?

Kathryn Knight

April 22, 2009

College grads this year are facing one of the toughest job markets in decades.

As of March 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate for people age 20 – 24 was 13.9%. That’s 5.4% higher than the national average, and 3.7% higher than last year.

“Graduates who are unable to find jobs are at higher risk of default on their student loans," said Mark Kantrowitz, a nationally recognized financial aid expert. “Even so, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates is less than half that for people with just a high school diploma.”

The old saying goes that searching for a job is a job in itself. If that’s the case, then college graduates should be prepared to put in a few extra hours with these helpful tips:

1. Post your resume on Monster.com. This should be the first place to start with any job search, regardless of the economic climate. It’s no longer simply a convenient place to virtually post your resume. The new Monster also has interactive job-seeker tools like resume writing services, interviewing workshops, career mapping, and salary wizards to help you get your footing.

2. Visit your campus career center. Your career center on campus has probably become the most popular building in recent months. Campus career centers have great resources for job searching students like alumni contacts, industry databases, and resume or interview workshops.

3. Make due with an internship. The recession has revolutionized internships. You may not get paid, but you’ll be getting experience, which will pay off big time when the economy is back on its feet.

4. Get a job with a temp agency. Temping opportunities pay and provide workers with experience. Some temping agencies even provide employees with 401K, medical, and vacation benefits. If you find a temping experience that you enjoy, it could potentially turn into a full-time job.

5. Know how to market yourself. Remember reading to third graders one afternoon your sophomore year? Or how about that Saturday during junior year when you helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity? Alone, these details seem insignificant but combined to a figure or 200+ hours of community service gets you noticed. You don’t have corporate skills to tout so utilize your study abroad, leadership, volunteer, and internship experiences.

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