Imagine, 101 days, 6 hours and 24 minutes after graduation passes before you can mange to start your career. I say career, because the moment that you cross that stage after a hard-earned degree from Florida A&M University, you’re not thinking of doing anything besides celebrating and being a scholar with dollars.
Then again, like so many students, I didn’t have that dream job.
I didn’t even have an average job offer, despite my hard work in college.
After my graduation in December 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an all-time high of 7.9 percent unemployment of the last decade for people ages 16 and over — and that rate is increasing.
It was time to reassess my future, call mentors, and customize more than 70 cover letters and resumes, and, to be frank — hustle.
So, willing to do any and everything, a familiar passion for being productive overwhelmed me, but there was nothing available. I was competing with mid- to senior-level professionals to obtain entry-level positions.
Indeed, we are in a recession, and as much I hate the overuse of that r-word, it’s a reality we all have to adjust to — including employers.
“It’s basically a ‘buyer’s market.’ Employers have the upper hand and are being bombarded with applications from more seasoned professionals who are willing to take a pay cut just to be employed and receiving a regular paycheck with benefits,” said Cedric Bess, a trusted mentor seasoned public relations practitioner.
At some point, my confidence dropped, not because I was weak, but because my accolades, accomplishments and long list of contacts seemed to be getting me nowhere. Bess and others provided encouragement and direction.
“The lack of job offers is by no means a reflection on your or your fellow students, but more of a result of the country’s challenging economic environment,” Bess said.
So in turn, I must add my advice. Be on the constant lookout for opportunities and be willing to do everything without sacrificing your career goals. Students who have not joined a professional organization related to their major should do so, now.
My job came through knowing someone, who knew someone, that knew of my professional cabailities.
Put in work, tighten your relationships, and “grind.”
Make opportunities by doing jobs related to your career or starting your own business.
Mark Taylor II is an alumnus FAMUAN staff member and current freelance journalist and public relations strategist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.