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College graduates need a plan B

 On a resume for a professional job, fast food employment will not impress a potential employer.
On a resume for a professional job, fast food employment will not impress a potential employer.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Because of the lingering economic recession, new college graduates are facing a difficult job market. Even STEM jobs, which account for almost a quarter of the jobs in the Baltimore area, are not guaranteed jobs, even for those who graduate with STEM degrees. In fact, 74% of the college graduates with STEM degrees do not hold jobs related to their STEM degrees.

Very often, employers want to hire applicants who have work experience in the jobs employers are advertising. Thus, new college graduates face the catch 22 problem. They cannot get the jobs without having experience, but they cannot get experience without getting the jobs.

There is a way around this catch 22 problem. New college graduates can apply not only for professional jobs, but also for internships. There are many methods of seeking out and applying for internships.

Even unpaid internships can be worthwhile investments if the alternative is to settle for part time or temporary jobs that do not require college degrees. But, how does the college graduate in an unpaid internship cover daily living expenses?

One way to cover daily living expenses is to live with their parents for a while. A 2012 Pew Research Center analysis found that 36% of young adults (ages 18-31), were living in their parents’ home.

Another way to make financial ends meet is to take out loans or sell assets such as cars. Especially in cities such as Baltimore, there are excellent mass transit and carpooling options.

What if, for a long period of time, there are neither professional jobs nor internships available, even unpaid ones? Is the only option left that of part time, temporary, underemployment? Taking a part time, nonprofessional job such as a waiter or waitress, or fast food worker presents a problem. One either has to show this type of job on a professional resume, or leave that time slot empty, and thus indicate unemployment. Neither option will impress an employer who is advertising a professional job such as one requiring a STEM degree.

A better option might be to start a small business using skills already possessed. A description of a small business venture could even be a worthwhile addition to a resume. A small business venture shows initiative and ambition. If the small business venture is very successful, it might become an even more attractive career than the career originally pursued.

Have you considered internships or your own small business? Please comment below.

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