Now that you’ve graduated from high school, you’re ready to begin college and start preparing for your career. Just think…four years from now, with your diploma in hand, you’ll be ready to land the job of your dreams and start raking in the dough!
That is...if you make the right choices in the meantime. Otherwise, as many recent college grads are realizing, you could be in for a rude awakening.
According to the Accenture 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey, “Recent college graduates are reporting they are underemployed and working in jobs that do not require their college degree.”
Not exactly promising news.
The Accenture survey found that 2014 grads’ expectations are simply not being met. For example, 85% of respondents said they expected to find employment in their chosen field. However, only 67% of grads from the classes of 2012 and 2013 have been able to do so. And only 42% were able to find a job in the first six months after graduating.
As for money, 81% of 2014 grads said they expected to earn more than $25,000 a year. But 41% of the graduates from the previous two years are actually earning less than that, and 42% are still living at home.
Sobering numbers indeed.
But don’t despair, members of the Class of 2018! It’s true that most college grads’ expectations exceed the realities of the current economy, but there are things you can do now to improve your chances of landing a good paying job in your field (and not having to live in mom and dad’s basement) once your college career is through:
- Do an internship. (Or two. Or three.) — Most companies don’t offer on-site training programs anymore. Employers want someone who can come on board and hit the ground running. Internships enable you to get real-world experience while you’re still in school. Start interning during your junior year and try to get a least one or two in before you graduate.
- Start building your network—NOW! — As the old saying goes: It’s not what you know; it’s who you know. With so many people fighting for the best jobs, who you know can mean all the difference in you getting an interview or your resume ending up in the circular file. Early on in your college career, reach out to people in your field. Ask them for advice. Build authentic relationships early on and it will give you a big advantage come hiring time.
- Get involved. — Despite what you may think, employers don’t care about your GPA. What they really want to know is if you’re a hard worker, if you have ambition, and if you’re willing to get your hands dirty. They want to know if you were active in college — in groups, clubs, volunteerism, internships, etc. — and if you took on and excelled in leadership roles. Plain and simple, employers want doers.
No one knows what the economy will be like when you graduate four years from now or what jobs will be available. But if you take the necessary steps to prepare yourself now, you’ll have an edge over the competition and be more likely to land a good paying job when the time comes.
Source: Accenture conducted an online U.S. survey between March 4 and March 14, 2014, of 1,010 students graduating from college in 2014, and 1,005 who graduated in 2012 or 2013.
(Data was rounded to the nearest whole number.) To access the full report please visit www.accenture.com/CollegeGradSurvey .