Millions of recent college graduates struggle to find a full-time job, and resort to working in positions that don’t align with their degrees or their experience. Regardless of whether the economy is in a boom or a trough, college graduates find themselves looking at job opportunities suited for their expertise, yet losing out against other candidates.
Despite the fact that I’m currently a college student, my college friends and acquaintances have explained their struggles to find employment, how they’ve applied for dozens of different opportunities, and ultimately never received any requests for an interview. What I’ve noticed is that for the most part, college graduates who fall under these circumstances can find their way into a full-time position if they adjust their current expectations.
Searching for a full-time job is far more difficult than obtaining an internship with a company. Take a look from the company’s perspective. If they happen to hire an intern that is sub par or not the best person for the job, there’s little risk to the company’s overall performance. The intern is probably paid little, if at all, and is only there temporarily. When a company is looking for a full-time employee, however, it’s far more risky and far more expensive if they don’t find an effective candidate. The company is investing in a "permanent" employee, and is willing to take on the costs of their salary, benefits, and the time it takes to properly train them.
Internships are just as competitive as full-time positions, but the process of sifting through candidates involves an initial meeting and maybe a few follow-up conversations. For a full-time position, it could be countless hours of interviews, follow ups, and training evaluations, before a person is chosen. For example, one of my coworkers at Indium Corporation applied for a position in a different state before their work here, and chose to fulfill all of the requirements for employment in that single visit. To fully process their fit for the position, the company sent them through the complete application process after 13 hours of intensive interviews and discussions. In one day!
It is more than just the interviewing process itself that causes college graduates to miss these opportunities, but understanding what makes this process so much harder is critical. Recruiters will oftentimes find amazing potential, only to receive very high demands that come with employment. Many college students expect to obtain a full-time position immediately after graduation, with a high, 5-figure salary, and a complete benefits package. The harsh truth is that those outcomes are very rare and hard to find.
College students are setting themselves up for disappointment if they expect that to happen. It discourages employers when they sense arrogance, whereas remaining humble about one’s options makes a positive and lasting impression.Learn to gauge the competition for a position, stay positive, and stay humble for any full-time opening that comes your way. It may not necessarily make it easier to stand out among everyone else, but setting yourself up for realistic expectations can ease the frustration of the process.