7 Reasons College Students Graduate Without a Job

Hire-meIt’s no secret: we remain in tough economic times. And college graduates are still having a difficult time getting started in a career they are really passionate about.

Many of this year’s graduates – over half – will end up taking a job that didn’t even require a college degree.

If you’re a soon-to-be college graduate that is finding it difficult to land a job, or if you’re looking ahead to the day you will graduate, I encourage you to read on… and discover the seven 7 reasons why you just might graduate college without a job offer in hand:

1. You Failed to Acquire Internship Experience

The job market is extremely competitive, now more than ever. As a college student, it is a MUST that you acquire internship experience throughout your college years!

Even the most “entry level” jobs nowadays requires some sort of “real world” experience under your belt – and 9 out of 10 jobs are going to those with internships on their resume. No internships? Chances are those job offers are going to the college graduates who have them.

My Personal Experience: During college, I was fortunate to have a variety internships under my belt as well as work study. When it came to submitting my resume to potential employers, my call back rate was extremely high because of my internship experience.  This is one of the ways I was able to distinguish myself from my colleagues. 

2. You Failed to Get Involved

I can’t stress enough how important it is to get involved in every organization you have the time for!

When potential employers view your resume, they want to see that you were involved; that you took initiative; that you were able to work as a part of a team. Not only will getting involved be enticing to potential employers, it also gives you the chance to learn, grow, and work alongside other like minded individuals.

college graduate getting involvedMy Personal Experience: I was involved! I joined fraternities, social organizations, honor societies etc. In every single job interview, the potential employer asked about my involvement on campus. Every one! 

3. You Got Involved (But Failed to Acquire Leadership Experience)

Some employers seem to think that anyone can attend a meeting, fill out a membership form and be a member. For those organizations, you have to go that extra mile.

They want to see that you took that president or vice president role, or maybe helped create an organization on campus; they want to see that you were a part of SGA (Student Government Association); they want to see that not only were you inducted into an honor society but you stepped up and became a volunteer leader or officer of the chapter.

Most important: they want to know that you have key leadership skills already… and can take on a project or role – and own it.

My Personal ExperienceI held leadership positions in every organization I was a member of: president, vice president, recording secretary, etc. I also took the initiative to assist in re-chartering an organization that was started by the founder of my school (today it is the biggest organization on the campus). I bring this up in EVERY interview I’ve been on… and it never fails to impress the employer.

4.  Your Grades Weren’t Up to Par

Like many recent college graduates, you have limited or no work experience. Which means there are other factors that employers must consider, including your academics. Yes, employers value experience over your GPA, but there are some entry level jobs in which employers will not review your resume if you have less than a 3.0 GPA (many old-school companies require a 3.5 or above).

My Personal Experience: I graduated college with a 3.56 overall and a 3.92 in my major; this allowed me to graduate third in my class and first in my major. 

5. You Failed to NETWORK

This is one of the most important factors, and for many the reason why you might graduate college without a job offer.

no-networkingNetworking is key in the society we live in today; it is YOUR job as a college student to get out and make connections with as many people as possible; you never know who you may meet! The most successful people today, I can tell you from experience, have a network of people that helped them get where they needed to go!

My Personal Experience: I admit, this was one of my big flaws throughout college. Even though I was a part of just about every organization there was, I still failed to take FULL advantage of the networking opportunities. On the other hand, one of my closest friends was offered a Financial job at General Electric. He received this job through the fraternity he was a part of. It just so happened that there was a couple of higher ups (within General Electric) that happened to be in the same fraternity as well. They met at a convention, exchanged contact information, kept in touch, and next thing you know he applied, interviewed and received a job offer. Networking pays off!

6. You Failed to Visit Your University Career Center

Its great you have internship experience. Its wonderful you joined every organization and took leadership positions. Pat yourself on the back if you got outstanding grades and you networked with everyone you came into contact with. I’m telling you now that this may not matter if you don’t know how to showcase you in a job interview.

Had you gone to your career center, you would have learned that they have everything from resume advice, to job search information and interview tips. You would know that your career center can show you exactly how to showcase what you’ve accomplished in college. And I wouldn’t have to tell you that there is a structured way to demonstrate your accomplishments on a resume, your LinkedIn profile, and during a job interview.

My Personal Experience: Regretfully, I didn’t visit my colleges career center until my last year in college. When I finally did, they provided me with an unlimited amount of job search resources. I was able to gain access to free books, webinars, seminars, etc. These resources in turn made me a better interviewer, and allowed me to start my dream career. 

7. You Really Weren’t Ready

This sounds harsh, but I say this because if you cared about your professional career, you would have done everything mentioned above. You would have known how much work that finding work is… and you would have started doing that hard work much, much sooner. So maybe, as hard as it is to hear, you weren’t mentally ready to start your career?

Missing some critical items as you face graduation?

Don’t get discouraged… giving up is not an option!

Remember: its never too late to turn things around. You now know what you need to do. Get started now… and get your dream career started!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Secrets of the Hire!


Secrets of the Hire


Dayvon AuthorAbout the Author: Dayvon Goddard is the founder of Secrets of the Hire, where he focuses on professional and career development for college students and recent graduates through job interview consulting, scholarships, resume consulting, personal branding and LinkedIn workshops. To date, Secrets of the Hire has assisted 1100+ college students and recent graduates find and keep a career they love. Follow Dayvon on Twitter!



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