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Editorial: Freshmen must research job trends, postpone dream career

Incoming freshmen must make tough decisions when it comes to career paths.  Cost, job trends and local industries are important to consider.
Incoming freshmen must make tough decisions when it comes to career paths. Cost, job trends and local industries are important to consider.

Today will be different. The job you have been pining for is going to email you back. Perhaps even set up a phone interview. Either would bring great jubilation. The last 100 job applications were either lost or the employers misjudged your talents. Today is not like the other 500 days of unemployment.

Sadly, that is a familiar feeling to those who have recently graduated from a university, college or high school. Millennials have inherited an entry-level job market as vacant as yesterdays social media site. With companies currently slowing growth, increasing international hiring and a growing bachelor degree pool of applicants, students must stay vigilant on the latest growth industries.

It is asking a lot for an 18 year old to decide what's best for their future, but unfortunately that is the way our society dictates. With rising costs, the decision to enter school carries the same weight as betting your future on red in Las Vegas. The safest way to protect your future assets as an incoming college freshman is to thoroughly research current job openings for college graduates. Forget "following your dreams" and look at the cold, hard facts of reality. You will thank yourself when it comes time to forget social proclivities and land your first job.

As it currently stands, my collegiate friends that are succeeding two years after graduation chose either a medical profession, engineering or information technology (IT). By the time you enter school it could be very different. Take your future into your own hands. Do the research necessary to feel confident on your career choice throughout the two or four years of education you are about to embark on.

Detroit-area students need to look at one industry - automotive. The automotive industry, including suppliers and contract workers, is responsible for a large portion of new hires every year in this part of the country. Engineering, IT and "green" initiatives as it relates to automotive are important and continually in demand as they push for redesigned, efficient vehicles. It's a massive industry that has given generations of families in this area stable and rewarding standards of living.

Unfortunately, these companies have instituted ultra-competitive standards that most Michigan college graduates cannot reasonably achieve. To score an internship within "The Big Three," many require the student be in the process of attaining a Master's degree. Entry-level positions prefer automotive experience which cannot be contained through collegiate education. That is a harsh reality for a depressed area of the country that is annually among the worst in unemployment. Michigan's greatest industry is nearly impenetrable to Michigan students. This is something that I have come to know quite well over the past two years. Some of those requirements can be waved or molded if you know the correct people with the proper connections. That goes for most job placement in early careers. How many times have you heard, "it's not what you know but who you know?"

Being on the last rung of the career ladder is not a fun prospect. As more people with higher education degrees take part time jobs as they search for an entry-level position, youth unemployment will continue to grow out of control. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for young Americans aged 16-24 was 16.3 percent in July 2013. That is more than double the current comprehensive unemployment rate of 6.3 percent as of May 2014.

According to Anthony Negrete (warning: story contains objectionable language), a Los Angeles-based writer, "as good as you may think you are there is always someone out there who is smarter and more deserving of your dream job."

In a rather colorful way, Negrete's editorial to the class of 2014 serves as a warning. The competition, which includes your graduating class in addition to those already unemployed, is overwhelming which makes bolstering your resume crucial to landing an entry-level position. Employers are expecting years of experience, specific majors and the solution to world peace. The last one may be a slight exaggeration, but it's not far off from what I have encountered.

Get out there. Treat your collegiate career like a political campaign. The more hands you shake, internships completed, and concrete pounded increases your chances of meeting a future employer. Perhaps a friend of an acquaintance will be the reason you have a job after college. What truly matters about your time spent navigating the campus is that you are competitive by the time the diploma is handed to you while strutting across the stage drenched in spotlights.

Researching current job openings in your desired field and location will make your degree selection process more informed. Postpone your dream career if it is currently not in demand. Careers can always be changed, but starting one can be much more difficult without the proper degree. Visit with advisors on campus, but take what they say with a grain of salt. They can be completely ignorant as to what is currently in demand from employers. Following your dreams is a nice sentiment, but making sure you can provide a living for yourself should be at the top of your priority list.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please feel free to contact me at any time. Best of luck in this crucial time in your early life.

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