A few days ago I went to get new insurance for my car. It is the first time I’ve had my car in my name and had to put insurance on it. Mom and Dad gave me from graduation in December to September (when their policy renews) to get my act together, become an adult, and get my own insurance. I walked in to AAA, registered my car, negotiated a policy, and then the lady behind the desk asked “Occupation?”
“Stu…” I started, before realizing the mistake. I hung my head, “Unemployed”
She printed the paper work and on it, in letters bigger than necessary, it said “Occupation: Unemployed”.
It felt as if someone had ripped out my pride and thrown it in a puddle of mud. I graduated in December from San Francisco State Universities business undergrad program with a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. I graduated Magma Cum Laude, a member of Beta Gamma Sigma – the business honors society, with two plus years of internship experience and 60+ job applications and resumes later I have no job.
This is not an experience unique to me. Of the students I graduated with I know of two that have found full-time jobs and five that have found part-time business-world jobs, other than that we are all working odd jobs or have moved back into our folks houses. We can sit around and bitch over beers but the fact is we’re up against people with 5+ years of experience who have been laid off and are willing to take entry-level jobs, we don’t stand a chance… or do we?
Theoretically we are younger, cheaper and more eager to please.
What is it that recent Gen Y graduates can do to get hired? This is the part I’m working on figuring out.
The part of me that idealized the Gen X attitude says “DIY” do it yourself, star your own company, make your own way. I’m attempting to do this, in part, by working with the guys that started Atlas Obscura, sure its not my company but its something I can really be apart of, a project that I can make a difference in. It means I’m not getting paid and I’m working from my home on questionable internet but at least my brain is busy and when people ask me what I’m working on I have an answer.
The part of me that understands the truth in “Its not what you know, but who you know” has been hitting the pavement trying to use what connections I have to find jobs. The only problem with this is that it only helps when the people you know, know people who have jobs open. Meet new people! Talk to interesting and professional people on Twitter and LinkedIn. Cold call and ask to talk to people in the types of jobs you want. I recently cold called a small-business marketing consultant and was had a 1/2hr long conversation with her that gave me many more places to look and ideas to consider.
Lastly, the part of me that is still very much a part of my parents says “Play it safe” and “Stick to your morals”. This can often be conflicting. “Play it safe” keeps me apply to jobs even when its not perfect match, while “stick to your morals” had me turn down an interview at a top ad agency because the account I would be working on was Walmart and morally I just couldn’t do it. Over all its still good advice, continue to turn in resumes even if you don’t know anyone there or you feel defeated and remember that who you are and what you believe is worth something.
Ideas from other people
Gen Y: Waking-up-unemployed? from PinkGen
Gen Y’s Jobless Aren’t Crying in Their Martinies, Their Networking Online
If you have any ideas, let me know I’ll be glad to pass them along.
Have a job in marketing open in the Bay Area? What my resume? Contact me.