Reflection of an English Major College Graduate
Are you a college graduate?
I have decided instead of ranting on a social networking site, I would rant on here in a productive way. Perhaps the experiences I write about will either inform others about the struggle of job searching after graduation or, at the very least, make other graduates feel less alone.
Hi, in case you have not read my "information" section, I am a college graduate. I have a bachelors in English writing, and graduated in 2012 with honors a.k.a. cum laude. This information should be semi-impressive, especially on a resume; however, I have never been an employed writer nor been employed through any other means than a minimum wage job I have held for almost eight years—yes, this means I began that job during my second semester of college in 2007. Meanwhile, customers frequently ask me questions such as "When are you graduating high school?" Sigh!
How did you find out about HubPages?
I have been writing on HubPages for over a year. It was suggested by Monster, several times; so, I decided to give it a try. I was unaware it would never provide a reliable income—I've only been paid once—but it has been enjoyable as a platform to write and express myself, as well as meet some other writers. So far, I have written a few articles on the challenge of being employed in your field after graduation. One is a review of one of my favorite films Reality Bites while another is on that insulting but constant question "What is a Real Job?"
Helping High School Students Get a Head Start
Returning to the topic of high school, after each 2-4 hour session of job searching and applying, most of which I can tell will never consider me due to the need of experience using particular computer programs — each listing different computer programs I have never heard of — I desperately wish to go back to my high school, demanding to make a speech before the entire student body to inform them on the importance of volunteering for different things, now, before they enter and graduate college. The reason being that in today's job market "a minimum of five years experience" is a requirement. Where does one acquire such experience? I guess I should have begun when I was a teenager. Who knew that half a decade of experience in something I didn't know existed five years ago would be the only way to be employed after graduation?
Most unemployed college grads are angry with their colleges for failing to provide the experience needed to become employed. While this is understandable, there is no way I would have the time to volunteer during my college education to meet these expectations. I would have had an internship, but I barely had time outside homework, class and my part time job. How would I have an internship in addition? Plus, who wants to spend half a decade after college graduation earning years of experience they could have earned during high school?
Have you ever been insulted by an interview question?
Learning From Interviews
Most of my applications never generate a response; not even a quick "Sorry, you don't quite fit what we're looking for." However, the ones who have asked me for an interview have taught me a lot about my worth, or lack there of.
First, interviewers ask if I've edited before. Well, of course I have, but that was for my college papers. Apparently, college experience doesn't count. Lesson one: Educated professors threw As and Bs at me, apparently; meanwhile, lower grades were given to other less deserving students or something. Now, the new lesson, after editing for two nonprofits for several months: how much I was paid? Well, one was volunteer, while the other was an unpaid internship—except for the one time there was a sponsor for the organization, so the director split the profits with me, her writer. Ah, this must mean I am not a "very good writer." Yes, one interviewer said this; even though both nonprofits loved my writing and would hire me if/when they can afford it, which is a common issue for nonprofits—if that guy knew anything about nonprofit organizations. I should quit writing, being that I'm so awful at it!
Speaking of money, how does one really discuss salary with any of these interviewers? Shouldn't they offer a salary so we know if we're asking too much/too little? The same interviewer who told me that because I was not paid for my work for the nonprofits that I must not be a good writer also told me the salary I was asking for was too high when, after researching later, I found to be significantly lower than the average salary of someone in that position working in that location.
Bottom line: We are supposed to be educated, paid-well by others, but ask for less than we deserve.
Side-Note: Never use or say you are "hard working" because everyone says that. You need to prove it!
How often do you edit your resume?
Resumes for Editing Lovers
One of the most time-consuming parts of my job search is updating my resume. I wish I could say it's because I keep being hired for new jobs, but no. Every week, there are new articles on how to construct a perfect resume, and what to avoid. If, like me, you read articles on how to improve your lack of a career, on a regular basis, you may have read articles that completely contradict each other. One article will say to use a particular phrase that makes the interviewer choose you while the second article says to never use that phrase because it ruins your appearance as a candidate. How are we college graduates supposed to succeed in the job market with conflicting advice like this? The saying about how "women don't know what they want" should be applied to modern day employers. If every job listing is looking for us to read their minds for what is "taboo" and "desirable," how is anyone hired for these jobs? Honestly, I would love to meet these hired applicants, so that I know what I am lacking as a motivated person who wants their work to be as perfect as possible.
If this article is depressing you as much as the reality of the situation depresses me, this Jenna Marbles video may help! Jenna Marbles has a bachelors in psychology, but has yet to have a job in her field; instead, she makes entertaining YouTube videos! She is one of the most well-known and successful YouTubers on the internet. So, don't feel alone! Maybe, YouTube is the solution for all of us unemployed college graduates. If we made money from YouTube, at least we could pay off our loans, even if we can never have a job in our fields.
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