Over this month I have spent a lot of time searching for a job, and it may sound silly, but I didn’t realize how difficult it is. I am a freshman with a few internships, but no actual jobs. I had many friends with jobs in high school and college, but none of them really explained how hard it was for them to find their first job. I thought, how hard could it be finding a minimum wage job? My answer: way more difficult than it should be. Finding your first job is hard because you are faced with the age-old problem: how do I gain the experience employers are asking for if I am never employed?
In the United States, four out of five adults struggle with joblessness. Of course, college students aren’t making up the whole of the unemployed — in fact we are an extremely small portion. There is obviously a larger economic problem. Fifteen percent of our population is living below the poverty line, and that number has been stuck that way for a long time. There are fundamental problems with our economy, but it is nearly impossible for one college student to change our entire economic system. However, it is possible for one student to learn how competitive the work force is and understand what is needed to get that first job, which will hopefully lend itself to future endeavors.
There is no way around it — the most important part in getting a job is experience. The best way to get this is through internships and campus clubs or leadership experiences. In addition, make sure you have a résumé and cover letter prepared. And lastly, prove to the company that you can be an asset. When experience isn’t on your side, you need to show your future employer that you are committed, a fast learner and that you offer something their other applicants don’t. Forbes magazine made a great point that “the job may not require the skills accumulated in college, but supplemental skills developed while pursuing some hobby like graphic design, a foreign language or familiarity with a statistical package.” It is important to not let this get you down in the job hunt — there is always someone that can do something better than you, which is why employers need to see you are committed and hardworking. Getting a job may not be easy, but it is possible.