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Advice for 2010 May, August college graduates

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The Columns on the Francis Quadrangle at the University of Missouri are symbolic of many things. When a freshman student arrives at MU he or she will walk through the columns toward Jesse Hall to symbolize entering the university. As a senior, the student will participate in Tiger Prowl and walk through the columns in the opposite direction to symbolize entering the real world.

May graduates are starting to feel the pressure. There are just about two months left before crossing the stage and entering “the real world.” This means a new generation of people searching for the same jobs so many have been looking for throughout the last year. Last year's graduates were told over and over that they were graduating at “the worst possible time.” Hate to break it to everyone, but this year isn’t much better.

For those graduating in May or August, if your specific job market allows it start looking for a job now. There are certain markets that will interview a student and offer a job for when they finish their education. Other markets are searching for “right now” individuals and prefer students to wait until after they cross the stage because they can’t wait another two months to make sure you finish school. Both scenarios are understandable. For those that are unsure, speak with a professor or advisor within your college to know the procedure. Also note that not every entity within a profession operates the same way, there can be outliers in both scenarios.

With the job market and the economy still in the state that it is full time work is still something that is not easy to come by. Graduates, while looking for that full time dream job also look for local part time work. I understand that the thought of spending four years and thousands of dollars to work part time can be depressing, but what is more depressing is all of that work for no job at all. Some part time employers might turn you away because of your degree, thinking you’ll get a full time job in the near future, quit and leave them back to where they started. It will happen. It’s unfortunate, but it will happen. There will also be someone out there that recognizes the fact that you are just like everyone else and you need a job too.

If part time is the first thing that comes your way that’s fine, however; don’t give up the search for a full time position to use the degree you worked so hard to get. It’s easy for that plan to get set on the back burner once paychecks start rolling in again.

Parents it’s good to want to help but don’t bombard. A lot of graduates like to take at least a week or two to relax from not having to go to class or do homework ever again. Constant parental pressure can sometimes make the situation worse. Understand that your graduate knows your are proud of them and that you only want to help, but a constant reminder of being unemployed doesn’t help. It makes the graduate feel like they’re not only letting themselves down but their parents as well. After all of that hard work and temporarily coming out with nothing is a harsh reality.

Keep in mind graduates this is no excuse to give up entirely. I understand that it is difficult to find any kind of job in this current economy but keep looking for ways to break into your chosen job market. In addition to looking for standard part time work, consider becoming a certified substitute teacher. Different states have different requirements so be sure to check what your state requires. For example, the state of Illinois requires a bachelor’s degree and the applicant must register within the appropriate county.

Try to remain positive graduates, the job market will start looking up eventually.

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