I’m a college senior graduating this May with a degree in public health. I also have a minor concentration in anthropology. I’ve been spending the better part of my weekends job searching, which has been difficult, to say the least. Most of the public health jobs that interest me seem to require an advanced degree.
Some of my friends are encountering the same issue. Few of the entry-level jobs that require only a bachelor’s degree are appealing to us. At the same time, we’re obviously underqualified for the ones we really want.
My parents suggested that I apply for the entry-level jobs anyway, but I’m skeptical. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to look for relevant graduate programs, since that’s the main barrier?
Your predicament is nothing new. College graduates everywhere can likely expect to encounter significant obstacles when it comes to landing a job. Experts at CIO.com are urging all impending grads to prepare for a cutthroat job market. The globalized economy has produced a very different workforce composition.
Writers at Business Insider report that unemployment remains relatively static, while underemployment and part-time contract work continues to rise. In other words, the landscape isn’t conducive to the grand majority of job seekers. Researchers at the Harvard Business Review estimated that two-thirds of all college grads struggle to launch their careers. These data points certainly seem to corroborate what you’ve already experienced.
Then what’s a college graduate to do? Despite how easy it is to gripe about your employment struggles, the best strategy for overcoming them is to get inventive with your tactics. You shouldn’t dismiss options because they don’t sound overly attractive. Anticipate having to make at least a few sacrifices entering the workforce for the first time.
Though being overqualified for a position is never ideal, it’s a viable and sometimes necessary tactic to get your foot in the door. Once you have a job at the target organization, the next challenge becomes finding a way to transition from the current role to the aspirational one. That could be as simple as accumulated exposure and the blessing of a direct supervisor or more formal education and possibly certification.
Given how you described your aspirational career path, it sounds like an advanced degree is preferred, if not mandatory. The real question is when would be the most appropriate time to pursue grad school? Forbes contributor Robert Farrington published a thoughtful article addressing that exact question. You should take his advice seriously.
Assuming you successfully conclude when you should return to graduate school, the next step is selecting one. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of feasible options. You might opt for a more specialized institution like Eastern International College, which is likely to be much more cost-effective than larger alternatives. On the other hand, there are different online distance education programs that appeal to those students trying to balance flexibility and cost.
Weighing the pros and cons might take a considerable time investment. It can be easier than expected to become discouraged while doing this research. Don’t be afraid to tap into your career center for support. Most colleges have resources and career coaches available to aid struggling students.
“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.” — Florence Nightingale