At 4.7 percent, unemployment is the lowest it’s been in years.
But for recent college graduates, the labor market remains harsh. Recent data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that the underemployment rate for recent college grads was 43.5 percent at the end of 2016.
The underemployed are those who are highly skilled (likely those with college degrees), but working low-skill, low-paying jobs. Unemployment, on the other hand, refers to those who don’t have jobs at all.
And while unemployment has gone down since the last recession, college grads aren’t getting any more jobs than they were 20 years ago. What’s worse, their annual wages looked almost identical to those in 1990 — meaning college grads are severely underemployed.
How college grads can avoid being underemployed
Economists have various views about what the government can do to help. But outside of major structural changes, there are steps you can take to boost your “hireability” after college.
Here are three tips on how you can find a job — or a better job — as a new college grad.
1. Make the most of your college career center
According to McGraw-Hill’s Workforce Readiness Survey, just 40 percent of graduates felt their education was very helpful in preparing them for a career. However, most colleges have career centers that will help both current students and recent grads. Even if you’re unclear on your goals, visiting the career center will teach you about your options. Plus, most centers offer services such as interview preparation and resume reviews.
You can’t necessarily control the fact that 8.6 percent of young workers and 3.9 percent of recent college grads were unemployed at the end of 2016. But you can educate yourself about where and how to get a job after graduation. By preparing for the job search before (or soon after) you graduate, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.
2. Track and highlight your college achievements
You may encounter a frustrating catch-22 during the post-college job search: You want workplace experience, but many jobs are only hiring people who already have workplace experience. Not everyone can afford to work an unpaid internship to ramp up their resume.
If you’re applying with little-to-no experience, make sure to highlight your college achievements. Consider any activities where you held a leadership role or projects that show off your transferable skills.
Perhaps you overcame a significant challenge or collaborated with a team to create something new. Whatever they are, your college achievements can indicate you have the core competencies to succeed in a job.
So don’t discount your college experiences. Instead, look at them through the eyes of a hiring manager. Pick out the ones that demonstrate professional skills, especially if you don’t have much workplace experience. Put them on your resume and LinkedIn profile, and practice what you’ll say during a job interview.
3. Build up your social and professional network
Many job-seekers have lost faith in traditional job search engines such as Monster and Career Builder. These enormous databases invite applications on a national level. All too often, you’ll apply for a position and never hear back.
As it turns out, networking is a far more useful tool in the job search process. According to LinkedIn, 85 percent of all jobs are filled by networking. Often, companies don’t even post jobs online, preferring to fill them internally or via referral.
If you haven’t graduated yet, keep connecting with people who share your interests and goals. And if you can, take advantage of your alumni network. You may even find a mentor or professional you can shadow for a day. You’ll learn about career development while making a valuable connection that could land you your next job.
Stay positive about the job search after graduation
Unfortunately, job prospects have not improved much for young workers in the past 27 years. And while 47.8 percent of recent grads landed $45,000 or higher salaries in 1990, today only 34.9 percent do.
It’s easy to get down on yourself if you’re struggling to find a job after graduation. But at the very least, this data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York should reassure you you’re alone. And by taking these proactive steps, you’ll get so much closer to finding the right job after college.
Too many college grads are stuck in jobs that don’t require a college degree. As St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said in a recent interview: “[This underemployment] is a waste of resources … If you put all of those people in the exact right jobs, you would get higher productivity.”
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.49% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.48% effective April 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.49% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 6.65%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.41%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.11%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|