The Struggle of the College Grad

May graduations are just around the corner and it won’t be long until the job market is flooded with new hopefuls ready to take on the world. For a select few their job hunt will be everything those shiny college ads predicted, a graduation followed by a well-paying career position.  For the bulk of them they will begin an up-hill battle full of moving home, part-time jobs, and endless job applications. As dreary as this prediction may be, it is rooted in the struggles of new grads everywhere.

The Struggle of the College Grad

Why do they struggle so hard you may ask? Now there isn’t a one size fits all answer to that question but here are a few issues that I have run across:

  • Poor Resume Writing- It never ceases to shock me how poor a resume can be and how out of touch student career services can be. I’ll never forget developing my first real world resume in anticipation of graduating. I did everything a student is supposed to do, went to career services, asked peers to review, and professors to edit. I did the whole nine yards and at the end of the day it sucked. The best advice for a new grad writing a resume is to network and find someone active in the industry they’re applying and ask for their help. If they do this the resume will be competitive for the field rather being a generic mess like mine was.
  • Entry Level Jobs Wanting Experience- This one has always been a head scratcher. The fact that entry level job listings, even internships, ask for X-number years of experience is a cruel joke to the new grad. Sure a few have held some part time jobs and internships while being a full-time student, but scraping enough together to quantify 2 years of field relevant experience is nearly impossible. With this harsh reality students should grab onto an internship and never let go.
  • Holding Out- This is an interesting one as in a lot of cases a new grad doesn’t have as much flexibility in shopping for an employer, yet a lot are holding out for an idealized position. It can seem like a death of a dream to give up those Google aspirations and accept that position at the local banking chain, but at the end of the day it’s a start. In a lot of ways this phenomenon can be blamed on all that university propaganda filling students head’s full of false expectations. From day one of freshman year they were promised that in exchange of their time and money, post graduation the roads will be paved with gold. It’s a huge adjustment of reality to think otherwise.
  • Support- The final issue a lot of new grads have is a lack of confidence. It’s difficult to foster confidence in ones self in the face of adversity. As a whole, new grads have no clue what they’re getting into and that’s scary. For the first time in their lives many are having to self-promote in an environment where if they don’t immediately succeed there can be major financial consequences. During these times of uncertainty and self-doubt it is so important for a new grad to have a positive support network cheering them on.

What was your experience when you graduated? Do you think it is more or less difficult for  a college grad today than it was for previous generations? 

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Sarah Lemmon

Reader Interactions


  1. Amanda says

    All of these are too true! I wish I could go back and tell myself to do a little more research and lower my standards more–I would have had a job so much sooner. And why should we expect to have our dream careers right out of the gate? The journey of strengthening personal talents and interests is only just beginning after college!

  2. EliseLieb says

    The one that gets to me the most is “entry level jobs wanting experience.” It feels impossible to break into a field when even the most beginner-level job you apply for wants several years of experience!


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