24 May 2017 | Career Advice | Guest Author
Decades ago, the way we thought about education and employment was pretty simple. Those who displayed academic talents went on to college, while those who didn't found gainful employment in blue collar positions. Those who went to college easily found great, well-paying jobs thanks to their credentials and those who worked blue collar jobs were able to make incomes decent enough to support their families.
Today, the game seems to have completely changed. While a college education used to be reserved for a small portion of the citizenry, today it seems compulsory for just about every person coming out of college. When it comes to blue collar employment, millennials see these positions in a negative light, considering those jobs to be beneath them. Considering that most millennials do have college degrees, they might have a certain point. After all, someone who obtained a four-year degree theoretically should be able to do something beyond factory work.
The issue of too many millennial job seekers with college degrees and not enough employers who can hire them might seem dire, but there is some hope. Recent data shows that the unemployment rates among millennials haven't gone down, but they haven't risen dramatically either. Plus, while many people try to paint millennials as lazy and entitled, there's plenty of evidence to show that they aren't all that different from previous generations.
Instead of just complaining about the issues they face, plenty of modern students are taking positive action towards rendering themselves more employable. Here are some of the ways that millennial students are actively turning themselves into more desirable job candidates.
One of the biggest issues facing millennial graduates is that they have degrees in fields that don't traditionally lead to profitable jobs. We've all heard the jokes about philosophy majors who all go on to become Starbucks employees. While some modern students gripe about their lot in life and don't take action, the vast majority of unemployed or under-employed humanities graduates are instead taking action through additional training.
Additional training can come in many forms. Online learning and training courses through local community colleges are becoming more and more popular. For example, someone with an English degree might go take a short course that prepares them to do basic work in the IT field. When you combine that additional certification with a traditional degree, you have quite the hirable candidate.
There's nothing inherently wrong with a degree in the humanities. These are essential fields that have produced some of the greatest thinkers of our time. However, there is a huge issue with graduates of these fields being able to find work. For this reason, many new university students are eschewing the humanities altogether, instead opting to study something under the STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - umbrella.
Those who are passionate about the arts, history or literature shouldn't completely give up on their passions. However, if a student wants to find gainful employment after university, it's not a bad idea to study something else while in university. Majoring in science or math and then minoring in literature or English will result in a degree that shows that you're hirable, but also well-rounded. Don't count the humanities completely out yet.
Volunteering and internships
One of the biggest issues with millennials looking for serious work is that their resumes only show a history of retail or restaurant work, which becomes an issue when an employer demands relevant job experience. For this reason, many graduates are volunteering or taking on post-graduation unpaid internships.
These pursuits typically pay little to no money, but they help the graduate to obtain something that one can't obtain in university, which is relevant real world experience. It's advantageous for the organization working with the volunteer or intern as well, since they get the benefit of free or cheap labor.
Obviously, there's a certain sadness to the idea of a university graduate working for free. However, these are usually temporary positions. Remember, millennials aren't as lazy and entitled as they're made out to be. Plenty of them are willing to work, even for nothing. They just need someone to give them that opportunity in the first place.
There is hope for modern students
The current job climate is frustrating for young people. There's no doubt about it. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If a graduate is willing to undergo further training outside of a traditional university setting, they can make themselves more hirable. Furthermore, volunteer positions and unpaid internships can also help to boost resumes.
Today's modern students might face difficulties, but they're coming up with innovative solutions. Undoubtedly, these enterprising young people will someday make wonderful employees for any organization that's wise enough to bring them on board.
Philip Piletic: "My primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business and marketing. I'm a freelancer, writer and traveler who loves to share his experience with others by contributing to online communities and helping others achieve success. I'd like to thank ITIC for their help with this article."