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College Seniors Are (Unrealistically?) Optimistic About Their Job Prospects

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It's good to be young. Seeing a wide open future sprawled out before you with plenty of awesome fruit just ripe for picking can make you feel like the possibilities are endless. As we get older, a lot of people become more pessimistic, and even bitter. Actually, Americans are pretty gloomy and doomy about the future in general these days. The optimism of our youth is a good thing. But, when it comes to the job market, is that optimism realistic?

It’s good to be young. Seeing a wide open future sprawled out before you with plenty of awesome fruit just ripe for picking can make you feel like the possibilities are endless. As we get older, a lot of people become more pessimistic, and even bitter. Actually, Americans are pretty gloomy and doomy about the future in general these days. The optimism of our youth is a good thing. But, when it comes to the job market, is that optimism realistic?

graduates

(Photo Credit: Alan Light/Flickr)

An article by Akane Otani of BloombergBusiness reviewed research and data from consulting firm Accenture regarding the outlook of over 1,000 college seniors toward the future. The survey was conducted online last march. Some pretty interesting stuff rose to the surface. Let’s take a closer look.

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1. Eight of 10 said their education prepared them for the workforce.

The good news is that the optimistic 80 percent is at least partly correct – education definitely helps prepare you for the workforce. But, that doesn’t mean that you are, in fact, adequately prepared. But then again, who is?! Here’s the thing about working really hard, day after day, year after year – it’s terribly exhausting. And, it’s kind of hard to really know what that’s like before you’ve actually done it. It’s important to note that a lot of employers are concerned about how prepared recent graduates are for this harsh reality. Sure, you might have some skills and training in your field, but that’s not all there is to it when it comes to joining the workforce. You’ll have to see for yourself.

2. More than half don’t expect to have a hard time finding a job.

Some graduates won’t struggle to find their first job after graduation. Others will have to spend a little longer than they’d like, but then they’ll end up in their fields. And, others will have a harder go of it. It is important to be realistic about some of the hard truths about looking for work these days, just so you’re prepared and don’t get discouraged if things don’t come together as quickly or easily as you’d like.

3. 74 percent said that their college helped them find job opportunities…

This is great news! Colleges have become more invested in supporting graduates’ careers in recent years. Career centers can really help you in your job search process, so be sure to take advantage of their offerings.

4. …but only 12 percent had lined up full-time jobs.

The survey was done in March, so this number doesn’t account for where students will be by the end of the school year, but it’s not a staggeringly optimism-provoking number either. The fact is, it’s hard to land your first job. And, it’s a bit of an adjustment once you do start working. But, as college graduates you have done the single most important thing you can do to advance your careers. You went to college! So, let’s just take it a day at a time from there.

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Were you more optimistic when you graduated from college than you should have been? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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