Take what you can get

In less than a month and a half I will have a degree from a four year university. In less than a month I will be expected to have a “real” job, not some serving job.  In less than a month I will be contemplating taking the first job offered to me.  Is that the best way to go? In this economy, should new graduates take what they can get?

I recently applied for a job that I know I can do but not that I necessarily want to do. It basically entails cold calling to get businesses interested in advertising on a web site. How hard can it be, right? The thing is, I want to do something I’m passionate about and still get paid. Crazy idea in this job market, I know. I was contacted by the company to do a ten-minute telephone interview in order to start on April 19th. That was great except for the fact that I don’t graduate until May. So they put me on their potential June applicants list. Perfect, if they call me back.

When I spoke to my father about this situation he said that I should take what I can get right now but keep looking. I’d like to know where all of these fabulous entry level public relations positions are hiding. I haven’t seen one job posting that isn’t for an unpaid internship or a position that requires 5-10 years of experience. The only way to get experience is to be hired in an entry level position.

In a New York Times article from about a year ago, it highlights the fact that yes many people are losing their jobs but many people (although not as many) are being hired too. According to the article, “4.8 million workers were laid off or chose to leave their jobs in February,” but “employers across the country hired 4.3 million workers that month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.” If that was only a year ago and the economy has allegedly improved since then, shouldn’t the job market be better than it is? I’m afraid that I will end up like the rest of the almost 30 year old servers at my restaurant with a degree. Serving is not a career and I am not about to make it one.

The only option is to not only continue looking for a job, but to also brand myself. I want to stand out from the rest of the people applying for the same exact job as I am. In an article on examiner.com, Mark Lyden, a college recruiter, says to “go back to basics”. Go in to career services and get help with your interview skill and resume even if you think they are perfect. There might be something you could do better. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose. So let’s get out there, search a little harder and apply to more jobs. Eventually, something will turn up. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.

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4 Responses to Take what you can get

  1. dolson says:

    A decision like this is ultimately up to you. There are no guarantees that any of us will get that perfect job right out of college, and there is no shame in sticking with a service job so you can pay the bills. Being employed is more than a lot of Americans can enjoy today. I think if you accept the cold-call job then you will have a paycheck for the future, but like you said you will be unhappy with the work. Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Taking a job you don’t like will satisfy the bottom of the pyramid, but only a job you enjoy can help you meet each level.
    At the same time, stick with your decision to brand yourself. If no one is hiring now, at least make everyone aware you are eager for work. Put yourself in employers’ minds now, so that when they have a position to fill you will be the first they think of. Take an unpaid internship; there’s no sense not continuing to learn and sharpening your skills. And hopefully it’s sooner than later for all of us.

  2. hbearat says:

    The questions that are going through your head are also going through every single person that is graduating this May. Unfortunately, it is not only the field of public relations that is cut-throat and competitive. To get a job that we would consider ideal, you not only have to have networked your way there, but not displayed a single flaw throughout the process. I agree with you that you feel like you need to take whatever is available, but I also question whether waiting to do something that you are passionate about for a low pay is ultimately better because you will have a positive attitude throughout the process and will be able to soak in as much information as possible. Taking a job that you have no passion for can lead to traumatic results and at a young age we need all the spark we have.

  3. a_hundza says:

    You’re not alone. I have aspirations for myself that I have felt I should put on hold because of the economy. I have been fighting with settling for what I can get right after graduation or going on to do something I know I’m going to be happy doing…but might not get right away. Sadly, there are bills to consider or the debate would have ended a long time ago.

    Like everyone has been saying, I think it’s a personal decision. I don’t think any of us can predict where we’ll be once our undergrad careers are over, but we have to prepare for anything. I don’t want to completely forget about what I would like to happen and settle, but I don’t want to be left without a plan B to run with. Maybe, we all just need a plan B to make ourselves feel better in this economy, but I don’t think we should forget what we really want out of our hard work.

  4. kmcnally says:

    I completely agree with you. I am a little scared to be graduating in such a horrible economy. I mean, there isn’t much out their right now, so do we take what we can get and settle? or do we keep trying to find that dream job. I, like you, have been looking on web sites and found PR jobs available, but they are for top executives, or internships that you must be looking for a college credit for. I mean, how are we suppose to enter the field if every job right now you need a certain number of years experience. Im just a little stressed out with finding a job right now, because i can’t continue to make sandwhiches for the rest of my life, i want to be at a job i love. But what do we do, take a job that really has nothing to do with what we just spent four years of our lifes, and our life savings on, or do we continue to luck and risk finding nothing? I dunno this is tough, and it will be till we are in the position we want. A good friend recently told me, its not what you know, its who you know, so i suggest that we start using our connections, start talking to people you know, whether they are in the PR field or not, and see if they know anyone, or if they can find a spot for you where they are at. Thats what i have done, i contacted a friend, who works in a different field than PR and he is going to sit down and talk with the PR department and see if they can work anything out. You never know, because it could be that someone you have known your whole life, gives you your destiny. So think about it that way!

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