According to a survey from Monster, almost half of 2020's college grads are still looking for a job, a year later. Grads say they're facing stiff competition and lots of rejection. It has some companies scrambling to figure out how to bridge the gap between college and career.
Stephanie Nuesi has faced every obstacle.
“Imagine coming here as a 17-year-old teenager, not speaking the language, and just coming to get an opportunity.”
She was born in the Dominican Republic to a single mom. She made it to the U.S, taught herself English, got herself to college, then had to figure out how to get a job.
She tells us, “I became an adult way too young.”
Some 200 rejections later, she's now working for Google. But on the side, she likes to help others who are not only facing rejection but are in "the gap" between college and career.
“That one, yes, will come, and I know it’s not as promising as you wish but I promise you as someone who got rejected 200 times and now got my one, yes, it will come."
Some of her advice? Networking and confidence.
“Use and leverage your talents to get around how you can level up your career- you might know something another professional might not know so you can be a help to someone else; any professional, any recruiter, and that help will be reciprocated to you.”
Executives are more accessible than ever.
Matthew Leavy is Executive Vice President of Academic and Professional Learning at Wiley, the education and research company. He suggests casting a wide net in your career search.
“Reach out to companies all across the country that are appealing places to work; reach out to people like me, to executives.”
Wiley has been working to help bridge the gap, a problem Leavy says, that existed before the pandemic and was made worse by the pandemic.
“There’s a significant disconnect you can find statistically in all sorts of ways and there’s a significant overlap of education and career and it's important that we start to think about education and career not being at different stages; one that ends at one point and starts at another point.”
Learning for your professional future he says, should be built into the curriculum.
“Being able to work as part of a team or being able (to) exhibit empathy, to manage in a non-hierarchical environment these are skills employers are looking for that are critical for success in today’s environment but haven’t been taught per se.”
But for the current grads who are looking for work, he says consider companies in different regions. If there's one thing the pandemic has done, it's brought everyone closer together through technology.
“We should be looking at this new period with optimism because all of a sudden all of these barriers - driving to the campus to take that night course, all these barriers are falling away for education and they’re falling away for employment as well.”
And Stephanie says, ask for help. Reach out to those who inspire you.
“Rejection is disheartening, it’s hard to go through so many challenges, especially we’re young we’re starting to leap, it’s hard to see a college student wanting to give up already. So, I’m here to make a difference and to help people unlock their potentials.”