Listeners Respond: Advice for College Graduates

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - 11:43 AM

We had a great response to today's conversation about this year's crop of college graduates. Check out this collection of responses from viewers, who called, texted, and posted advice for those facing the job market for the first time.

"If a person has a passion to teach English in a foreign country, then going to China, i.e., might make sense. I know a few folks who had a great experience doing that. Or join Americorps or Peace Corps..." –Fran G, from thetakeaway.org

"Don't major in Commumications." –Chris Zimmerman, from Facebook

"College degrees are as good as high school degrees... You need a masters or doctorate to get a good job." –Unknown author, via SMS

"The unpaid internship is in my view a ripoff. In most cases it's a way for companies to get free labor. How do people live without money? The entire internship system seems to have gone off the rails. There are exceptions, but they are few and far between." –Geoff, from thetakeaway.org

"Get all the tech skills you can get your hands on! The tech industry is one of the only industries that is growing and its growing fast! According to conservative estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 250k new software development jobs added by 2020 and young people are perfectly poised to take advantage." Adda Birnir from Brooklyn, NY from thetakeaway.org

"I would advise young people to interview friends and older mentors. Ask them, "What qualities do you see in me that would help me choose a major, or a career path?" And, "What fields do you see that may have openings?" We cannot see ourselves as others see us, as employers may see us." –Fran G, from thetakeaway.org

"That with that degree you're now overqualifed to work at Mcdonalds." –Unknown author, via SMS

"Go home to the folks or live with Aunt Suzie in New York City or on your best friend's futon: Get an unpaid internship in a field you love; or offer yourself to Aunt Suzie's best friend's great uncle. No partying on week nights. Show up and work your butt off! There is a high probabillty there will be a job for you a year from now!" –Laura from New York City, from thetakeaway.org

"Make sure you get a position that will help your career and what you want, rather than to just get one. It will save more time in the end." –Unknown author, via SMS

"I'm doing my best to make the massive expenditure worth it, and simultaneously following my passion! I am studying Environmental Science and Biology for the purpose of biological-based remediation of ecosystems. Hopefully I dont get reduced to working for monsanto to design the newest corn." –Clinton Brail, from Facebook

"It took me 2 years to settle into a full time position. I had to freelance for that time and it was not easy. It does get easier my advice would be to work your butt off." –Unknown author, via SMS

"I usually advise college students to pick a major that will get them a job, not one they love. If the two happen to jive, great. But don't major in Fiction Writing About Long-Haired Cats In The 18th Century just because you find it interesting, unless your goal in getting a college degree is something other than getting a job." –Katia, from thetakeaway.org

"Live at home as long as possible! Work two jobs. You're young and can handle it. In five years you won't want to." –Lauren Howie, @denisondg07 on Twitter

"Get your foot in the door with even unpaid internship or volunteer work. It'll set you apart from faceless resumes & applications. Make them hire you out of guilt or obligation." –Unknown author, via SMS

"Until a paying job appears, my advice would be to do volunteer work: help someone. Many places are short people. Volunteer at a hospital, they need help, etc." –Ed from Larchmont, from thetakeaway.org

"Find a niche and make yourself special. I graduated in Social Work-Sociology class 78-learned sign language-which proved useful w working w disabled folk." –Unknown author, via SMS

"Get behind us oldies who are looking for work? Is that selfish? LOL" –James Withers, @JamesWithers3 on Twitter

"I also tell them to look early on at actual job ads for jobs they may want/that their major may get them, and make sure that their chosen job isn't one that every employer requires ten years' worth of experience for right off the bat." –Katia, from thetakeaway.org

"I would advise recent grads to try not to take the current job situation personally." –Unknown author, via SMS

"If you have just graduated in the US, be grateful. Because there's no place in the world where was much opportunity has just been given to you." –John, caller  

"Network, network, network. While you have access to your mentors, ask them questions, get names and numbers, find out who your friend's parents work for." –Unknown author, via SMS

"My advice would have been shared prior to them starting college. I have never understood the idea of waiting until someone has completed their studies to bequeath a lifetime of experience. I would tell them to learn outside the boundaries of the classroom and not to worry so much about grades, to focus more on the "learning" and not so much on the "proving." College seems to have become merely a place to punch-up once's CV and not a place to nurture interest and knowledge." –Fred Perry, from Facebook

"Get any job you can right away! Only thing worse than having a job not in your field is having none at all. Get that first support job then hunt for the dream." "Joseph Sharkey" from RI, on SMS

"I'm a recent college grad who now has a job. The way I did it, and the way other people should do it, is you should figure out what you want to do, then get the education you need to get that job. Don't just go to school for something arbitrary and expect jobs to jump at you." –Seth from Hoboken, caller

"My advice is to make friends with people in high places. Be shameless. Get your name out there even if you aren't qualified because if the person that's hiring might know someone looking for an entry level job." –Danielle from Rhode Island, on SMS

"It annoys me that NBC pays its business interns and expects journo interns to work for free. Check out their intern website." –Steve Beste, @stevebeste from Twitter

"Finally, if I were pressed to impart some experience, I would tell this newly minted graduate to be flexible. While you may have studied International Political Economics, you may find you have a love of Education Administration. Don't feel limited by your past decisions to dictate the road you travel. Some may say you are compromising, not following your dreams." –fredjperry, from thetakeaway.org

"The best thing they could do is move to Canada. Because they ain't going to get no job here." –Jay from Rhode Island, caller

"Here's some advice. Go back in time and make sure you've majored in something that is useful. If everyone needs it, do it..." –Lauren Howie, @denisondg07 on Twitter

"I would like young folks to consider true options, not just 4 year college degrees, but quality technical education. I personally know a couple of millionaires who did not get a four year degree." –John, caller

"GO TO GRAD SCHOOL. If that doesn't work, just keep going." –Unknown author, via SMS

Editors:

Tory Starr

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Comments [1]

Bill Rubin from Boston area

Why don’t we suspend the J-1 overseas student work visa program until our employment situation is improved? Summer or seasonal jobs are hard enough to find for college age kids and really hard to find for someone still in high school.
I think it is important for students from different countries to have the experience of living and working in the US. It helps them understand who we are and what we are about. This cross cultural experience will pay off later down the road when they can better explain to their friends and colleagues the actions of the US. But we need to suspend the J-1 work visas so our students can get seasonal jobs and experiences that can lead to full time jobs later.
You should do a show on the J-1 student work visa program. This show should look at the positive outcome and some of the down side. Other than the workers abuse, the job broker should be looked at and how it helps employers find pre- qualified seasonal workers; how these overseas workers are more likely to work for the complete season because their universities are not starting in late August or these workers are not looking to take time off for their own summer vacation. In many cases a student here on a J-1 overseas work visa is more reliable than our own college and high school age workers.
(there are a lot of J-1 student workers on the upper Cape Cod.)

May. 09 2012 07:31 AM

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