Finding a Job: a Struggle for Those Without a College Degree

High school student Pavel Rozman is a realist.

“I’m 16, haven’t graduated high school and don’t have a college degree,” Rozman said. “I feel like employers don’t take you seriously until you’ve done those.”

Is that true? Possibly. Michelle Chong says that most people wrongly think teenagers are immature and lazy, which makes employers wary of hiring them.

What possible employers think of students is important. The majority of students interviewed gave the following advice: If you want to get a job dress professionally, act mature and don’t make things up to seem more impressive — employers will see right through you. And if they see through you, you won’t get the job.

According to a survey that this author created on Facebook, 70 percent of teens and college students who responded are unemployed. Out of that 70 percent, roughly 40 percent have applied for jobs and have not completed the interview process, 10 percent have gone through the interview process and have lost the job to another person, and 20 percent have not even thought about applying.

Of the 30 percent of students who have jobs, their biggest piece of advice is to get yourself out there. The only way to get a job is if you apply.

“Most applications are online now, so the only way an employer will notice if you really want the job is if you call and check up on your application,” said college student Courtney Wolfe. “Have they received it? They won’t think you’re annoying, I promise, they will think you’re interested.”

In order to get her current job at the Gap, Wolfe called four times to see if the company had looked over her application. “Doing this made me seem really interested in the job and I feel as if it helped me get noticed,” she said.

Before landing the job at Gap, Wolfe was employed at a McDonalds in her home town. “I definitely don’t miss the smell of french fries” she says with a laugh.

If young people don’t get the first job their apply for, don’t worry, says Nectar Knuckles, who applied for seven jobs and was never once contacted about an interview. Knuckles said it’s best to “stay positive. It won’t be the end of the world if you don’t get the job. A lot of the time people fail more than they succeed.”

So where is the best place to find a job? Is it better to look on your own or go through your career center? Five out of 6 college students surveyed on Facebook said avoiding the career center is preferable.

“You’re better off talking to professors in your department. They’re the ones who actually know where to find jobs in your field,” said Libby Errickson, a summer intern at the Atlantic City Aquarium.

Errickson also says to not be too picky.

“I know too many people who are like ‘ohh, well I was hoping for something a little different/more permanent/etc…’ If you have an opportunity, go for it. Don’t wait around for ‘something better’ because that may never come and any experience is good experience and is just one more marketable skill you can put on your resume. A lot of jobs are going to be seasonal at first until you prove that you’re someone that the business/organization should have around permanently. And even if you don’t think it’s ideal for you, you may end up loving it because you really don’t know until you try.”