With Workforce Shortages Why Can’t Students Get a Job?
I’m a little confused. Every employer I speak to, no matter what industry, is complaining they are experiencing workforce shortages.
Yes, jobs in hospitality, agriculture, and retail are among the hardest to fill. Yes, those types of jobs have obvious challenges- they involve hard work, less flexibility, the lowest of wages, and no paid time off. But other employers in every other type of industry sector say they are experiencing workforce shortages too.
Yet at the same time, I hear many graduates complain they can’t find a job. They send their resumes into a black hole. They receive multiple rejection letters. Or they have an interview and don’t get an offer.
One culprit is today’s hiring process. Back in the day, job seekers wrote a resume, printed it out, checked the newspaper for jobs, and called to schedule an interview. If the interview went well, you got the job!
Sadly, that’s not how it works anymore. We live in the information age where the world is getting smaller. Personal networks are scattered all over the globe. Employers aren’t just hiring local boys or girls, but rather, talent from all over the world.
Plus, employers aren’t improving their hiring processes to meet the challenges to secure talent. Thanks to sites like Indeed.com, ZipRecuriter.com, and Monster.com, companies still receive hundreds of resumes at the click of a button. Many companies lack the infrastructure to process all those resumes.
Many companies also lack the infrastructure to train entry-level workers. They only seek to hire experienced, seasoned individuals in their field. At the same time, they shun the older worker which means they are essentially trying to pull from the smallest population group. Good luck.
Even when a company uses recruiters, those agencies seem overwhelmed and only skim through resumes. Surveys have found that recruiters spend an average of six seconds to review a resume. Six seconds! Both employers and recruiters lack the time needed to thoroughly review all resumes received.
But we can’t blame the disconnect all on hiring managers. It’s easy to point a finger at employers, job boards and applicant tracking systems, but job seekers, especially students, need to help too.
Many students are easily frustrated when a process is not simple, quick, or easy. Job searching takes tenacity. Researchers have uncovered some of the reasons college graduates struggle to find jobs, identifying job uncertainty, competition, lack of work experience, skill gaps, networking, and lack of follow-up as major barriers for some graduates.
Upon graduation, some students discover they have no interest in their majors. Graduates need to reflect on what classes or activities they enjoyed the most and look up career paths that follow those interests.
Others discover a lack of job opportunities within their chosen field. Unfortunately, earning a college degree doesn’t automatically mean securing an interview. The times right after graduations, December and May, naturally are going to be much more competitive for entry-level jobs. Applying in these months in industries with more job competition will be harder for graduates to stand out, even with excellent grades and experience.
It’s best to start applying outside of the graduation season. Even if you don’t meet all the qualifications a job posting lists, apply anyway. Most entry-level applicants won’t meet all the desired criteria.
And employers complain that graduates are unprepared, both in work experience and basic skills. They complain entry-level candidates lack eye contact, conversational skills, and other soft skills. Job experience, even if it’s not in related fields, develops valuable organizational and soft skills. Those skills can be gained through volunteering, interning, or working.
Without work experience, it’s also harder to develop a strong personal and professional network that can lead to jobs. Graduates should consider networking opportunities such as college job fairs, meeting with professors, virtual or in-person networking events, employer career fairs, volunteer opportunities, and connections from family and friends. Not only one time but as long as it takes.
And none of these tips will help students that underestimate the power of follow-up. Graduates – If you are lucky enough to land an interview, it’s important to follow up with the person who interviewed you via email. Keep it professional and concise, the manager only has seconds.
Thank them for the opportunity and mention anything that could set you apart from other candidates. Be brave, ask for the job. Keep at it. The job market is currently on your side, but it’s still not simple nor easy.
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