With the recent graduating class of 2013 saying goodbye to college, we can expect more talented and skilled young people to start entering the job market and learning quicker than ever just how hard it is to get a job. The economy is getting better every day, but many companies are remaining cautious before going on any hiring frenzy.
For the majority of young people and recent graduates who choose to enter the job market, there are four common career realities that they can expect.
1) Full-time employment – This is likely the most coveted direction in which many recent grads hope and strive for. Full time employment is highly sought out because of the constant work, good pay, generous benefits, and work-life balance that can come with it. But with many companies seeking employees with multiple years of experience and a vast pool of candidates to choose from, it’s getting harder than ever for young people to get full time work in a desired position. Sadly, this will not likely be the first job experience for those who have graduated from college in the last 1-4 years, and it will also likely not be the first job experience of recent grads for at least the next few years.
2) Underemployment – In this career reality, young job seekers will likely take a job they really don’t want, that they are vastly overqualified for, and only work a small amount of hours per week or month and are dramatically under paid for their time and services. It’s like being stuck between a rock (a stable, desired job at the top of a rock mountain) and a hard place (no job at all). It’s part of the reason why we have often heard people say the only thing worse than unemployment is underemployment.
3) Unemployment – Unemployment is a path traveled by more than a few recent grads for months or even years after leaving college. It’s a tough position for an eager twenty-something to be in after spending potentially tens of thousands of dollars on an education that was designed to perfect their talents and skills for the job market. Frustrated youth job seekers may be forced to move back in with family, going into deep debt or having misguided feelings about their chances of ever getting out of the dark hole of unemployment.
4) Internships – The explosion of recent grads taking internships shows how hard it is to get your foot in the door through traditional means as an employee. People are increasingly willing to work for free in internships – even after graduation – with the hopes that hard work and patience will one day be rewarded with a job or at least a network of people who would recommend you for a job. The internship is, unfortunately, becoming the new entry level job.
If you are not one of the fortunate few to snag a full time position with a stable company, the job market offers only a few bleak options that are almost a slap in the face to the last 4 years of your hard work and dedication to perfecting your skills and knowledge. Starbucks might be hiring, but being a barista is not exactly the passion-filled career you were hoping for, is it?
Is there hope?
So are there any potential answers to the disappointing job state many people of the millennial generation are being thrown into? Is there any other path ready-to-work individuals can take besides going deeper into debt with grad school?
Freelancing is becoming the new wave of employment for young people. Young people are bucking the trend of traditional employment, and they are taking the skills and talents they already possess and turning them into money making assets for a global world.
There was a time when freelancing was only for starving artists and the occasional photographer. Not anymore. The new economy has spawned the freelance careers of many people who were either tired of trying to find a traditional 9-5 job in a down job market or who wanted more freedom and flexibility in their careers. Everyone from designers to charity workers to attorneys have used the power of freelancing to supplement or completely replace their main source of income. Sometimes to the tune of 6 figures or more.
And unlike the entrepreneurial route, the opportunities within the freelance world allow for many to transition into the freelance world without having to invest tons of money or time learning a new skill.
25 year old John Peden is one of the many recent graduates who bucked the 9-5 path in lieu of a more flexible freelance career. Despite the risks of not having many clients during a down economy, John started freelancing as a side job and quickly carved out a profitable niche as a WordPress developer. His freelance opportunities were bringing in significantly more money than his day job so he moved into freelancing full time. Now John is able to make up to $529 a day as a freelance WordPress developer, while being able to live life on his own terms anywhere in the world he chooses.
For many recent graduates who are now exiting the halls of college, they are going to experience a devastating blow when after 4+ years of hard work there are not employers lined up to offer them a lucrative career package. But freelancing offers a way to overcome this unstable job market and give power back to college grads that are looking for meaningful forms of work they can control.
Start your own freelance career today! (Or grow your current freelance career to massive success.) Check out Chris Guillebeau’s “The Freelancer’s Survival Guide” to learn how to go from starving freelancer to a successful career.