Unemployment's at a 25-year high. Employers expect to hire 22 percent fewer graduates this year than last year. So is the situation as hopeless as it seems?
While it's certainly difficult, you can still get a job - but you may have to adjust your expectations.
For example if you majored in finance, you might want to forgo trying to get a job on Wall Street or as a stock broker. Take a job in accounting or insurance instead.
It may not be what you really want, but let's face it - your first real job isn't likely to determine the rest of your life.
So here are some tips you should keep in mind:
FINE-TUNE THE JOB BOARDS
Use the big job boards to see what industries and professions are hiring so that you know where to focus your job-hunting efforts.
Then take what you learned there and go to smaller specialized job boards for a specified geographic area or occupational field.
That's where you want to apply your job search efforts.
APPLY FOR JOBS OUTSIDE YOUR CHOSEN FIELD
What you're looking for are industries and fields that are hiring, which you'll discover if you start studying the job boards. It's true that these may be jobs outside of your chosen field, but chances are there are facets to these jobs that will help you land your dream job later on.
You don't have to be an accountant to work in an accounting firm, or an engineer to work in an engineering firm. That's because there are many disciplines - like marketing and human resources - within such companies.
APPLY FOR JOBS IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
The federal government is hiring thanks to President Obama's fiscal stimulus package. And there are federal government offices in virtually every city in the country. Federal job hiring is especially brisk for full-time, entry level positions.
LOOK FOR WORK IN YOUR OWN BACK YARD
Don't ignore your college career center. Counselors there can not only help with your resume, they can help you figure out which industries and potential employers you can focus on. And if they're any good, they'll help you research firms and hook you up with alumni who work in your field.
CREATE UNPAID WORK
Many companies and non-profits offer paid and unpaid internships, but did you ever consider creating such a position yourself?
It's easier than you think.
The best way to do this is to contact smaller companies in your field and ask if they would allow you to do unpaid work in exchange for getting experience and making contacts.
You can also volunteer at nonprofit organizations and do work that's germane to your specialty. This will help you develop your skills and stay involved in the work force. It will also help you forge valuable connections you can leverage.
In the end this experience will go a long way toward helping you land your dream job because it will demonstrate initiative to companies you apply to later. Plus you'll have gained valuable experience that will make your resume look better.
Doug Fogel and Associates
2770 Stony Point Road, Suite G
Santa Rosa, CA 95407