Seven Reasons Why College Students Become Unemployed or Underemployed

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by Bob Roth

In recent years, the sad fact is that fifty percent of all college grads have been unable to land good jobs.

The reasons for this statistic can be traced to a variety of reasons including the economy and a poor understanding of the employment process.

Too many students fail to follow the steps that are most likely to lead to employment success.

They prefer to ignore their employment goals until the senior year.

Since gathering the information, creating a plan and carrying out that plan take more time, that strategy does not work well.

Factors That Affect Employment

1. Your Major

Some college majors are in demand, others are not. When you select a major that is not in demand, you can hurt your chances for employment success. When you know that you have selected a major that has limited employment opportunities, you must understand that you will have to look closely at your options and address the issues head on. Burying your head in the sand and ignoring the obvious will not serve you well.

2. Your College

The college you select is a factor in employment success. When your college does not have a good reputation in your field of study, few employers will show an interest. Also, when your college does a poor job of helping students get prepared to conduct an effective job search, those students will be at a disadvantage in the competitive job market. The reputation of the college in your field of study and the ability of the college to help students prepare for their employment search should be known to you before you make your final choice.

3. Your Performance

Students need a semester-by-semester Plan of Action. Those who are not detailed and clear about their activities and performance will loose out to students who are more aware and better prepared. Their performance in the classroom, in campus activities, at work and in community or leisure activities is important. Students who fail to participate in or excel at anything will seldom show up on an employer's radar screen.

4. Your Attitude

There is an enthusiasm that goes along with success. It is a combination of confidence, interest in the work, determination to succeed, a willingness to take calculated risks and a need to get things done and done right. When students fail to demonstrate a superior work attitude, employers will move on to the next candidate.

5. Your Accomplishments

Your accomplishments tell others about you and your capabilities. Therefore, students with few accomplishments will have little to say and will obscure their capabilities from potential employers. No employer is going to spend time trying to figure out what an unknown quantity can bring to the table. Your capabilities must be made obvious by prior accomplishments and handed to employers on a silver platter.

6. Your Job Search

Getting ready to conduct a comprehensive and effective search for employment is a slow process that builds gradually, as you move through college. Preparation includes a goal, a plan, research, classroom performance, campus, community and leisure activities, work experiences, accomplishments and successes, examples and stories, your network, your resume and sales letter, interview practice, employer identification, references and more. Because there is so much to do, students who fail to adequately prepare for their senior year job search should be prepared to fail.

7. Your Reputation

You create the reputation upon which employers make judgments. Charisma, leadership, communication, performance results, relationships, memberships, contacts, influence, references and recommendations all come into play. Your reputation both precedes you and follows you. However, when you have no reputation, employers will wonder why not. When you have done nothing of importance during the college years, it will be difficult for you to stand out. Obviously, when someone has a bad reputation, their chances for employment will be nonexistent.

Although a few students can sometimes get away with ignoring one or two of the seven elements listed above, relying on luck and your good looks is not a reliable strategy for beginning a career. A clear direction, understanding the requirements, a plan, hard work and determination are all needed for employment success.

To help ensure that you do not join the ranks of the unemployed and become a statistic, you should take pains to put yourself in the best position to find a job with career potential.

Bob Roth, a former campus recruiter, is the author of four books: The College Student's Companion, College Success: Advice for Parents of High School and College Students, The College Student's Guide To Landing A Great Job -and- The 4 Realities Of Success During and After College.

Known as The "College & Career Success" Coach, Bob writes articles for College Career Services Offices, Campus Newspapers, Parent Associations and Employment Web Sites. Bob has created The Job Identification Machine™, a system that colleges use to identify thousands of employment opportunities for students.

He has been interviewed on numerous radio programs across the country and by many publications, including U.S. News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal. Bob's Blog-

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Alice Taylor
September 11, 2017 at 12:12 AM delete

This article is really fantastic and thanks for sharing the valuable post.

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February 28, 2018 at 8:18 PM delete

An excellent information provided thanks for all the information i must say great efforts made by you. thanks a lot for all the information you provided.