My semester as an adjunct teaching five English classes is over; I am on vacation, and my main task now is to find a full-time job. Never in my life have I had such a hard time finding a job, but, then again, this is different. This time, I am seeking a job with a company where I will start my career and hopefully be employed for a long period of time.
However, getting your foot in the door for a professional position is difficult, and it is easy to get discouraged--especially when you have student loan payments looming and living expenses to consider. At times, the task seems impossible, especially when you don't regularly get responses on your resume, or if, when you do, and you go on interviews, they decide to "pass on you" for someone with more experience or who more closely meets their needs in some vague, undisclosed way. Then you get desperate and end up settling for a part-time job or multiple part-time jobs to try to make ends meet, and you start to feel that you have been the victim of a huge lie...
After all, the unemployment rate of recent college graduates between the ages of 22 and 27 in 2013 was 5.6%, and "more than half" of those "22-year-old degree holders" who found jobs found ones where they didn't need a college diploma. When you are stuck in this sort of situation, you start second-guessing yourself and all of the decisions that you made that led you to this point in your life. You think about your options, and you only grow more discouraged, as you are so close that you can see your goal, but you can't attain it, and it is there teasing you, just out of your grasp.
This is when it is important to remind yourself that, in spite of your current situation, it is worth all of the hard work, and, as a few quick Google searches will prove, the sort of success that many people go to college to attain is overwhelmingly not a lie for most people. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013, people with a bachelor's degree or higher had an unemployment rate of 4% or less and a median weekly earning of $1,108 or more. This is in contrast to people with a high school diploma, who had an unemployment rate of 7.5% and a median weekly earning of $651. That is a very clear difference, and with every successive degree that you earn, the income only increases, and thus, going to school is indeed worth it, even when you take into account student loan debt.
According to CNN Money, student loan debt averaged $29,000 in 2013. Based on an income of $1,108 a week, on a standard repayment plan, a single taxpayer with $29,000 in loans would pay $242 a month (in the state of Ohio) towards their student loans over 120 months (Repayment Estimator at studentloans.gov). If you consider that, according to the Federal Reserve, the lifetime earnings of a college graduate is worth $830,000 more than that of a high school graduate, even if your loans are $100,000, you will earn substantially more money that you would have likely earned if you not going to college (Forbes). The overall financial reward for going is worth the cost of it, and worth the continued effort to find a job that will put you on the positive side of these statistics.
The key, I believe, is to keep trying. Do research and figure out what you are doing wrong. Find all the jobs that you seem remotely qualified to do, and apply for them all. Adjust your resume and write a new cover letter for each new position. Use all of the job boards, but also apply directly through companies' websites. Ask your friends and your friends' friends to see if where they are working is hiring, and if they have any jobs like what you are qualified to do. It only takes one success application and interview process--you just have to make sure that you are in the right place at the right time. And that takes a lot of work, and a lot of applications.
If you are creative, and persistent, eventually you will find the right job. If you stay positive, work hard, and attempt to learn from your mistakes, you will more likely be successful. Of course, that is easier said that done--as I will be the first to admit--but, just like everything else, having the right attitude takes effort too.
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