New grads struggle to market skills in job hunt

Decades ago college students would leave college with careers in line and a future in seemingly whatever they chose. The world was theirs for the taking.

As of 2012, 53 percent of recent graduates were unemployed and jobless according to the United States Census Bureau.

So what’s the reason for this? Why are so many students starting to struggle to get the careers they have always wanted? Why are they giving up on dreams they’ve had as children and taking on mediocre jobs with big name companies.

A recent study of 4 million Facebook profiles showed the biggest employers of twenty-somethings are Walmart, Starbucks, Target and Best Buy forcing real wage earnings as lower than they were throughout the 1900s. This is not what a typical college student plans as his or her future. A degree is what leads to a better career and a happier life is what is continually spoon-fed to the ever-growing college demographic. Yet students are coming into college without the work it takes to get to the happier life in mind.

“A big part of it is they come into college underprepared,” Josh Santiago, assistant director of the Academic Career Advisement Center said. “I’ve seen students come to me with a week left in their senior year and no plan on where to take their degree.”

The Northern Michigan University Academic Career Advisement Center is a service on campus designed to help prevent students from settling. Having been instituted at the college from the beginning the program has seen its fair share of students falling just short of the job they came to college for.

“You see it mostly in the undeclared students who search for direction,” Santiago said. “We’re the brainstorming part of the career process and help narrow down what they’re looking for.”

With over 100 majors to offer the Academic Career Advisement Center has to know a little bit about everything on campus to even scratch the surface. This isn’t to say all the pressure is on them to help find a good career after college. No. It’s ultimately up to the student to be constantly involved in what they want out of life.

“The people who do it really well live it. They experience and try things and constantly move forward,” Santiago said. “The more things you do the more you can add to your resume and the more employers will like you.”

Assistant Director of Career Services at Northern Michigan University, Steven LaFond knows all too well how to open doors for fresh eyes.

“We post jobs and information to make it readily available, we coordinate four job fairs a school year, and we constantly search the Internet to find opportunities for these kids,” he said.

The Career Services Center is a small group on campus who works to help students and alumni get linked with jobs. They will review application materials and even print off hard copies at no expense to the student.

“We give them somewhere to start,” LaFond said. “They just have to take the time when we provide it.”