College graduates and work experience

Max Bickley – General Assignment Reporter

In the modern society that college graduates are entering, going into the workforce can often be a daunting and frightening undertaking. The reason being, that it is often required by companies that in entry level jobs, experience is required. Because of that, many fresh graduates feel as though they have the inability to land a job.

It seems to be something of a plague-like idea to millennials, that our circumstances economically have been a little worse for wear. Adding on top of that the fear and occurrences of jobs which are at “entry-level” [defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the lowest level in an employment hierarchy”] asking for experience when applying for the position.

What jobs don’t realize though is that a majority of the times, students who have just graduated, unless in the teaching field, have not had the opportunity to have much experience in their major’s field of work. Often, the jobs that graduated students apply for are jobs which they couldn’t have even applied for without their degrees; degrees which took upwards of four years of schooling and debt to get.

In an interview with an upcoming Southern graduate, accounting major Kristen Cuzzi shared her sentiment about the absurdity of this mentality in the workforce, while also sharing her experiences in applying to the jobs open in her major field.

I think it’s ridiculous that they expect college grads to have like one to three years of experience already,” said Cuzzi. “I guess sometimes they put up those requirements just to deter people away, but that’s just what I’ve been told.”

If that is the case as Cuzzi describes it, then jobs with such requirements for entry-level jobs do just that. However, while there are jobs where such requirements are listed, that does not mean that graduates shouldn’t try their hand in applying. According to Cuzzi, that taking the chance might in fact pay off in the long run.

“When I look for accounting jobs, they pretty much always say they want experience for the job, but I was told by career counselors, professors, etc., that you should apply anyways,” said Cuzzi, “ because you never know if you have more of the qualities they are looking for even without the experience.”

As mentioned by Cuzzi that is also an important factor which determines the qualifications one has for a job. The same way a student’s level of extracurricular activities and community service can help them get into a college, also applies to getting one into a job.  

Also, for students who are concerned about the possibility of being rejected from a job, especially at entry level, due to not having the experience for it, sometimes jobs at those levels will have some form of training involved.

“I’ve been in interviews before when they tell me they aren’t concerned with experience because they can train me how to do that,” said Cuzzi, “they want me to have the qualities they are looking for in an employee, because those aren’t always teachable.”

While it may seem like an impossible task to land a job right out of college, and while job providers may do their best, but not always seem open to fresh graduates, that doesn’t mean students should give up.  Should students see the job they are applying for ask for experience, there is never harm in applying.

Photo Credit: Kate Hiscock


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