Don’t Be a Freeloader!

graduate with parents kissing himIt’s been nearly a decade since “adultescence” was chosen by Webster as the word of the year. According to the dictionary publisher, the rising number of young adults mooching off good old Mom and Dad was enough to be considered a “Peter Pandemic.” According to the New York Times, these so-called “kidults” blame the high cost of education and housing. Some also blame their jobless state. The simple logic goes like this: no job, no income, no ability to pay rent. In this economy, you may well find yourself in that kind of situation, so let’s take a minute or two to consider that scenario.

Unemployment Among Recent Grads

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, [http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/04/53-of-recent-college-grads-are-jobless-or-underemployed-how/256237/] in 2011, a shocking 1.5 million bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 were either underemployed or completely jobless, with the split approximately 50/50. To put those numbers in perspective, consider these comparisons:
• 20% of 16- to 19-year-old Americans were unable to find work in December 2011
• 18.4% of all Americans under age 25 were unemployed in 2010
• 4.2% of college grads over 25 are unemployed in 2012.

Those percentages certainly don’t tell the entire story, but they seem to indicate that recent college grads have more trouble finding jobs than their non-college-educated same-aged peers. “It’s hard to imagine why any of this might be, other than that some recent grads may simply not be willing to take the low level jobs available to them,” observes Jordan Weissmann with The Atlantic.

uncertainty after graduationResume Considerations for Jobless Grads

Besides the obvious problem of not having an income, there’s a major career-thwarting issue related to unemployment: a gaping hole in your resume. Any holes in a person’s resume can make a negative first impression on a prospective employer, but for a new grad who lacks work experience, they can be devastating. What’s an unemployed grad to do? Well, there are plenty of ways you can be productive—and be able to represent your productivity on your resume—besides sitting at home in your parents’ air-conditioned living room, playing video games. Here are some suggestions:

• Perform volunteer work at a local hospital, senior center, or community group
• Ask friends and relatives for opportunities to use your skill set to help them, in exchange for letters of reference
• Blog about your field of expertise or your journey toward finding work and build a network around it
• Find, apply for, and accept an unpaid internship in your field and work hard at it.

Financial Advice for Young Grads

While the tips above will help you fill the hole in your resume, they won’t provide an antidote for the college loan that’s growing as you look for work. Regardless of what level position (and salary!) you’ve been hoping for, you need to be willing to freelance, work part-time, take a lower salary than you’d expected, or even work a second job to make ends meet. Humility and diligence rarely go unrewarded.

Image credits: Top by Junial Enterprises / Fotolia; Bottom by olly / Fotolia.

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