Home » Education » When graduates ask: “Why can’t I get a job?” Aaron Addison December 1, 2015

When graduates ask: “Why can’t I get a job?” Aaron Addison December 1, 2015

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“What are you planning to do when you graduate?”, is a question that I often ask undergraduate and graduate students.  Responses are as wide ranging as the student population itself.  There is the predictable “Good question”, the more resigned “I don’t know” and the more altruistic variants on “save the world — make a difference”.  Most though have a common goal, either continue on in their academic pursuits or…..get a job.  A recent article (published by BBC) on a study done at University of Westminster revealed many of the experiences I have had over the years are not unique, but rather data points in the much larger phenomenon  of recent graduates not being able to find a job. (article here)

Before coming to Washington University in St. Louis almost ten years ago, I spent 17 years in the private sector, working as a project manager in the civil engineering\architecture business.   Part of that time was as a self employed consultant, part working for a major engineering software provider, and part working directly for engineering companies.  I feel extremely fortunate to have had the real-world project experiences that have shaped my professional career.  All of these experiences had a common denominator.  You must bring value to the job.

Sharing these experiences have led students and recent graduates to my door to ask for my help in finding gainful employment after graduation.  They come with CV in hand and want to know what to change and how to modify content to get a job.  They are crushed to discover that almost no one cares which lab they worked in during college, what their GPA was, or who they were a TA for (and how many times).  They make the changes only to find that it’s still not enough to land their dream job….or any job.   The disconnect between resume and interview is real.  read more…

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