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Old 09-13-2008, 09:09 PM
3,474 posts, read 4,746,626 times
Reputation: 3678


My son, who has a college degree and is 22 years of age, has been looking for a job for 8 months! He has applied for countless jobs, only to be rejected via e-mail or completely ignored. He did a 5 month unpaid internship after graduation, but nothing came of that. How can a young person with no experience get a job in this economy? We live in San Rafael, but he is at the point where he would go anywhere and do any job that could pay the rent. The temp agencies won't even call him back. The ones he has called say they have no jobs. Does anyone have any ideas, referrals, etc?
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:43 PM
Location: Sacramento, CA
117 posts, read 384,429 times
Reputation: 35
What kind of jobs has he been applying for? Is he following up on the applications? Dressing/acting appropriately on interviews? Maybe there's a simple reason no one is calling him back; a glaring error on his resume? If he's applying for jobs he qualified for, has a professional resume, follows up on all applications, and dresses/acts appropriately...then I have no suggestions. Sorry.
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Old 09-14-2008, 12:47 AM
3,474 posts, read 4,746,626 times
Reputation: 3678
He has only had one interview in all these last 8 months. Universally, those who respond to his applications say that they have other applicants with experience. He has had help in writing a resume and cover letters, and I believe they are fine. He has a degree in political science and wishes to work in a field that is at least a little related, since he plans to attend graduate school in a couple of years. He was looking for positions with non profits, in civil rights, human rights, etc., but found nothing. He would love to get in on the bottom at a law firm, but they pretty much require clerks to have experience. He would love to work on grants, but he has no experience there, and everyone wants experienced grant writers. He would even do clerical work, if he could find it. The problem is that he is competing with lots of unemployed people who have experience. I'm sure if he was in a medical or technical field he would have been working months ago.
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Old 09-14-2008, 11:25 AM
Location: San Jose, CA
7,656 posts, read 23,829,025 times
Reputation: 3483
You don't wait for temp agencies to call you back.. you need to call THEM, every single day. And not just one branch, but every branch that serves an area you might be interested in. I have a "temporary" job through Manpower which has lasted almost 2 years, and I got it through dogged persistence.
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Old 09-15-2008, 02:00 AM
600 posts, read 1,551,424 times
Reputation: 317
Honestly, it sounds like he may be setting his sights a bit too high if he's not hearing back at all or being told there are others more experienced. There are certainly jobs out there in the areas he's looking at, but the jobs for which he's qualified may not be the juicy-sounding ones. Have him carefully review the experience section of each advertisement. If it says 3-5 years needed---or even 1-2 years---take it off the list. Similarly, while there may be opportunities for him to do grant writing in the future, he is not qualified to apply for grant writing jobs right now for the simple reason that successful grant applications are a key qualification for these positions. (Doesn't mean he won't get to do it, just that he will not be the one in charge of it---many entry-level positions at non-profits include supporting higher ups in things like this, and that's how he can build experience and success at it.)

Check out www.idealist.org---they (broken link) have a great listing of area nonprofit jobs, and often many entry-level postings. (And I know it's depressing to have a college degree and be stuck looking at entry-level jobs, but that's how this sector works....you do have to start getting paid close-to-nothing to do less-than-exciting things, but there are often opportunities to move up quickly; a little different than corporate America!) He should be targeting jobs with titles like program/project assistant, which are often the first rung on the career ladder. A clerical job can also be a foot in the door, but he should be clear (if they don't ascertain this from his liberal arts degree) that he is ultimately interested in doing more than this. Ideally the jobs he applies for should list a bachelor's degree but no experience as the requirements, which positions him nicely for that. While experience does beat out sometimes, many organizations are specifically looking for the "new college grad" for positions like this. (That said, many of those positions were likely filled in June/July with the latest group of grads.)

You might suggest that he get in touch with some of his college professors; they might have contacts in the areas he'd like to work in (even if he went to college out of the area). He should also be setting up informational interviews with the types of organizations he'd ideally like to be working at. Most small nonprofits have staff who, though busy, are more than happy to meet with people interested in their groups, and they may be able to suggest which orgs/positions he'd be a good fit for, whom to talk to, and how to best present his experience. Often, they'll know of upcoming openings that he can keep an eye out for.

Good luck!
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Old 09-18-2008, 10:29 AM
90 posts, read 413,116 times
Reputation: 81
The above post is great and so true. Also, has he had his resume critiqued? Does it stand out for some reason, grab attention in some way? Does it have "results" lines on it, like "began x initiative, result: x change". Would YOU look at his resume for more than 2 seconds? Imagine a sea of resumes -- How are you going to get noticed?

Also, most jobs that are great options are inside-referral. I work for one of the world's largest employers, and the first statement my upper mgt makes to me when a position needs filling is "who do you know that would be great for this position, we'd rather hire a person that someone knows their reputation...." Start making phone calls, and have your friends make phone calls, and your friends' friends, etc.

Also, has he tried a headhunter? He just needs to get his foot in the door, and he needs to take anything. Then, he needs to do the job, even if it's mail clerk, at 200%, and he needs to have ideas for anything he sees that needs bettering, if he wants quick promotions. Bodies are hired that are breathing that are referred from someone at the company, and it's the idea-people who always deliver, always show up early, those are who get promoted.
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Old 09-19-2008, 09:59 AM
Location: ATL
286 posts, read 900,292 times
Reputation: 82
He may need to consider moving out of san fran.
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