If the lack of entry-level jobs has discouraged you to the point that you have stopped looking for a position, snap out of it. Now is not the time to roll up your resume and escape on that cross country camping trip you’ve always wanted to take. At least, not if you want to find a job before 2014.
According to Barbara Kiviat* in this week’s Time magazine:
“Were the economy to magically start regenerating jobs at a healthy clip——say, 200,000 a month——it would still take 3 1/2 years to return to where we were [before the recession started in Dec. 2007], never mind the jobs we need for new entrants into the workforce.”
So what does that mean for you? Only that delaying your job search in favor of camping until the US Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes some more attractive job market numbers means you’ll be living in a tent for 3.5 or more likely 7.5 years (my personal estimation).
Here’s why. Two reasons.
#1. The economy is not going to recover for awhile, so don’t wait until the media announces that it’s out of rehab.
Professional and management jobs in business are disappearing faster than tickets to the new Harry Potter World at Universal. But the good news is that the need for work to get done isn’t. There are jobs out there.
There is an explosion of microenterprise in this country. And all of these entrepreneurs need help…the kind of help that a recent college graduate is likely to be able to provide. This includes accounting, web design and development, PR, marketing, and all sorts of contract assignments in other fields. Just check out Urban Interns if you don’t believe me.
[Sidebar:] As a small business owner myself who meets with several other small business owners regularly, I know this to be true. In fact, I make it a policy to hire only recent college graduates because I believe that not only are most of them smarter than me, but they work super hard if given the chance.
And the reason I felt compelled to blog about all this at 10:30 pm is because I feel a huge disconnect between what college students are currently telling me, and the way the economy is going. Several students have recently told me that they would rather turn down contract work in favor of waiting for the economy to recover. What?! Contract work builds your resume, lets employers know you have the ability to work independently, and it could potentially lead to your starting your own business. It did for me!
#2. The competition isn’t going anywhere either!
Even if you abhor the idea of contract assignments now, it’s a myth that the competition for the few entry-level jobs that are available will be less fierce in a few years. Companies are going to use these next few years to figure out how to do more with less. My advice is to suck it up now, and approach the job search as if it were your full-time job. It is no fun working on one resume all day for a single job application, and writing cover letters is about as fun as cleaning the toilet, but it’s worth it when you finally get that employment contract in the mail.
On the other hand…if you’re like my doctoral student friend who speaks five languages, owns a beagle and knows how to make food out of dirt – and who can actually survive in the wilderness with only a beagle and a bear for company – by all means go camping! You just might make it in this crazy new economy without a “real” job after all. (Yes, Mick, I said real job.)
*Source: “How to Create a Job”, by Barbara Kiviat. Time Magazine (March 29, 2010, pg.19)