College Grads Face Waiting Tables, Working in “Boiler Rooms”

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If you’re a recent college grad, you know the job market is pretty dismal. Those that have found work are waiting tables, working in low-level retail sales jobs, or stuck in boiler rooms selling overpriced products or services nobody wants. 

Needless to say, college grads are getting pretty discouraged. 


One recent MBA noted that she has been looking for a government job for over a year now with no results. She warned of job scams in which companies ask for $500 to $1,500 up front to find a job. These scams are often for jobs as financial adviser, marketing, management or sales trainee, or business analyst. The companies typically target entry-level graduates eager to find any work after many months of looking with no prospects. 


Another college grad who has been out of work for two years lamented that the only jobs he could find were in retail sales that paid just above minimum wage. You don’t need a math degree to figure out that jobs like this won’t make a dent in the huge college loan debts many grads face. Or that buying a new car is out of the question. As is moving out of your parents’ house and into a nice apartment (apartment rents are rising faster than grandma’s muffins in the oven). In Orange County, CA, for example, a single bedroom apartment goes for nearly $1,600 a month—or about $20K a year. Unless you’ve got a tech or science degree, most entry-level jobs being offered to college grads these days pay $25K to $30K.
Still, there are those who refuse to give in to the negative news and remain optimistic. These grads cling to the hope that they will eventually find work in their chosen major. One can’t deny the stats which show college grads are twice as likely to secure a job over someone without a degree. The first rule of survival in any bad job economy is to take the job--even if you’re overqualified--and keep searching for something that matches your career goals. After all, some income is better than nothing. 


Given so much bad news, there are some glimmers of hope. One sector that’s doing a modicum of hiring is the government. While many view governement jobs as boring and unchallenging compared to those in the private sector, the good news is that the pay is okay and the benefits are petty cushy as benefits go. The other bright spot in hiring is technical services. Here, recent grads have been finding work in accounting, computer systems design, and management consulting. Again, this is where an MBA or tech degree would help. 


So if you’re a recent college grad, keep the faith. Keep applying for that job you really want. Try to learn something from every job interview.  Things will turn around.  

If you have any advice for today’s college grads, post them in the comments section below. 
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