You’ve graduated from college? Congratulations! And you want to find a job where you can change the world, have flexible hours, and live luxuriously? Good luck. *NEWSFLASH* -- the club of college graduates is no longer exclusive.
Americans are increasingly pursuing higher education, which is great. MoneyWatch reported, “According to U.S. Census data, 39.3 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 had earned a post-secondary degree in 2010. That adds up to 5.9 million people. A year earlier, 38.8 percent of people in this age group possessed an associate, bachelor’s, or graduate degree. ”
This means that being college educated no longer guarantees you job security. What skills have you acquired in your first 2+ decades? These real-life skills, my friends, are what will get you hired.
When I was an undergraduate, I was told that I’d have no problem finding a job. I got my first job when I was 16 and was fortunate enough to find work easily after that. It wasn’t until I had an official degree that I hit the hiring wall.
For three months after I walked across that stage for my diploma, I sat home and completed applications for anything I could find. I got my first call-back for a temporary, unpaid internship. I was convinced the universe was angry with me, but that internship was a blessing in disguise.
The N.C. Center for Nonprofits was the first organization to offer me any kind of position post-graduation, and I gladly accepted. Three months of volunteering turned into a paid, part-time position, and two months of part-time work turned into an offer for a full-time position with benefits.
Do I regret working as an unpaid intern with a degree? Absolutely not. Having a degree doesn’t mean you’re overqualified or “above” serving in a temporary and instructive position. Forbes reported that college graduates working at unpaid internships have a 37 percent chance of getting a job offer. Chances are even more promising if you have a paid internship, with 60 percent of graduates receiving job offers.
If you’re searching for a job, keep the faith and don’t dismiss the unpaid options. They’re often big opportunities. If you prove you’re an asset to the team, they may just keep you around.
Shameka Harrington is program assistant at the N.C. Center for Nonprofits. She has been part of the staff team (full time with benefits) for 11 months.