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Dispelling Myths About College Grads and Unemployment

by Alison Ringo

In recruiting and HR in 2012, we spend a fair amount of time hearing about, reading about, and thinking about unemployment.

As commencement ceremonies are celebrated across the country, the fears of unemployment and income (or lack thereof) center in frenzied clumps around upcoming and recent college graduates. The media has a blast scaring the pants off of everyone, especially in this election year.

Let’s dispel a few myths about unemployment and your job search as a recent college grad.

1. It’s a myth that the field is so bleak that everyone’s moving back home – The excellent PolitiFact recently looked into and invalidated the shocking, widely cited claim that 85% of recent graduates are moving back in with their parents.

Apparently, the real number is closer to 42% for grads under 30, with fewer than half of those giving the economy as the reason for their location.

2. It’s a myth that there are no jobs for those with new bachelor’s degrees – Anecdotally, we see that every May, economic rain or shine, new jobs at strong companies open up for recent grads.

Even in May of 2008, our recruiting firm was busy staffing those with newly framed Economics degrees in inside sales positions for a market data provider.

3. It’s a myth that there’s nothing you can do to improve your odds – Internships are the key.

A recent Rutgers poll of graduates between 2006 and 2011 found a starting salary difference to the tune of 15% in those who interned during college vs. those who did not.

4. It’s a myth that the economy is still in the tank – Retail spending is up. U.S. manufacturing hiring is actually booming. Housing starts are rebounding. The cost of gas dropping in April.

In short, despite the theatrics of a presidential election year, things really aren’t that bad anymore. (At least not at the moment.)

In some sectors, sure, things are pretty bad. Law school graduates have honest to goodness unemployment prospects ahead of them, for instance.

But things are no longer so bleak that recent grads can sit back and sigh over their bad luck.

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