For those who do not know, I recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communications.
I have to tell you, this job searching thing is no joke. I have been reflecting a lot during this time and I can’t help but think about how millennials are constantly being encouraged to pursue a degree. We are told that a degree will give us better job opportunities and more stability. The reality is there are still limited opportunities for us. It isn’t that there aren’t enough jobs, but there aren’t enough companies willing to meet us halfway.
Most jobs require us to have had years of experience to be qualified. We have to work low-level jobs that are referred to as “entry level’ just to learn the ropes and these jobs pay us equivalent to what we make at our current part-time jobs. We are expected to work for as little as $10 an hour before we are qualified to apply for higher positions.
The pay isn’t the issue. The issue is that some jobs require us to work multiple years in these entry level positions. It would have been beneficial to work these entry level jobs during college, but we are only just now qualified enough for them. Some jobs won't even look at an application once they see that you have no experience, but how can we get experience if no one gives us the opportunity to learn?
Personally, I don't feel that college prepares us for the job search adequately. Even internship opportunities are becoming slim for recent graduates. They expect us to be currently enrolled in school and receiving college credit in exchange for the internship. What about those of us who did other internships during undergraduate or changed our prospective career path after graduation? Did we just run out of time? Why are we not allowed the chance to shadow and learn from professionals anymore? Truthfully, my brain does the same thing at 22 years old and a graduate that it did when I was 21 and a student. We need internships. We need apprenticeships. We need a chance.
Personally, I feel colleges should require seniors to job search and document the process in order to ensure that we have job security when we get out of college. There's no reason we should be going back to fast food jobs, cleaning jobs or babysitting just to survive until we find something that we prepared for four years.
Additionally, we need to talk about the lack of opportunity here in Minnesota. Many young people are moving out of the state because of the lack of opportunity for growth. We're moving to states like New York, Arizona, Texas and Georgia because there is a greater chance that jobs will welcome us. I believe that Minnesota being a smaller and more intimate state should give more time and attention to the youth. If Minnesota prepares us, we won’t get swallowed up in the big city scene just trying to get noticed.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong advocate for going to college, but it is no wonder why so many millennials are taking the entrepreneurial route. The job search definitely builds character and I think opportunities should be earned, but I also don’t think it should feel impossible to find employment. I can't tell you how many jobs I have applied for that have a message at the bottom of the application that reads, “Please do not call to follow up.” How else can I ensure that you see me? I'm a firm believer that hard work, consistency and discipline during college should lead to us walking into a job straight out of school. Many reforms need to be made and I think it starts with companies understanding our experience.
Latisha Townsend is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in Communications. She is the former president of the student organization, Black Motivated Women. She can be contacted at Townsendlatisha796@yahoo.com.