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College Counselors Don’t Know the Job Market

Blog / December 13, 2018

Recent college graduates face a tough job market. Even with great grades and solid internship experience, many grads are finding it tough to get hired. For each entry-level professional position in a given industry, there are dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of applicants. The jobs themselves have changed—startups, flex time, working remotely, and unconventional benefits—and college counselors aren’t helping students prepare because they don’t understand the market.

Career centers fall short

According to the College Career Center Study suggests that only 8% of college students think their career center is helpful. The same study reports that 61% of college graduates say their career center didn’t help them find a job. Many are understaffed, some with a ration of nearly 2,000 students to one counselor. And many don’t meet students’ needs and preferences. They want help landing jobs and internships, with updates and advice through classes, workshops, and social media. They need help writing resumes and cover letters and strengthening their job-seeking skills, like interviewing and creating an online professional brand.

The trickle down effect 

Now that we’re a few years past the Great Recession, we’re seeing more and more effects from it. Many Internet startups had to shut down, along with companies in other industries, and as a result, the job market is flooded with job candidates who’ve been laid off and have loads of experience compared to the college students. Many employers aren’t even bothering to show up to college job fairs anymore because they’ve already collected enough resumes.

Companies want the best

Since employers have the luxury of receiving a swarm of applications, they’re being picky with their hires. They’re only looking at students—if they’re looking at any at all—who are at the top of their class, with the highest G.P.A.’s, the most extracurricular activities, and the most real-world experience. Many frustrated graduates, are postponing their entrance into the job market by enrolling in graduate school or law school. 

Prepare ahead of time

So now more than ever, college students and recent graduates have to take their interviews and job prospects seriously. They have to come prepared—do their research ahead of time, show off their passion and enthusiasm, and network. A career path doesn’t have to be a straight line—there will surely be rejections, setbacks, and detours.  

Networking is important

Anyone and everyone should know that they’re looking for a job and what kind of job they’re looking for. They shouldn’t take any lead for granted and pursue each one as though it’s the job of their dreams. Even if it’s not, it might be a steppingstone to a really great role with a lot of potential. They need to obtain the right introductions and know which questions to ask. And though there’s a lot of value in face-to-face interactions, much of networking now can be done online—through Facebook, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and even Twitter.


For more tips on getting hired fresh out of college, check out our website at

Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh