The word "experience" is a word that will make a recent college graduate, who is looking for a job, cringe with disgust.
"Experience" is the most common factor as to why college students have trouble getting a full time job in their field. This leads to the daunting question, How do you get experience if no one will give you the job to earn the experience.
When I entered college I knew the importance of getting involved in campus groups. As a communication and journalism major I became an active member of the campus television and radio stations, and wrote a few articles for the campus newspaper.
Then when I decided I wanted to try my hand at public relations I took on a summer internship at a local visitors bureau promoting tourism in the county. When that internship finished, I was offered a part-time job working for them my senior year, which I accepted.
I would say that I followed the rule that most college professors preach, which is get involved in campus groups and internships to gain experience that will set you apart. I did these activities while juggling a full course load and graduated in four years. I will say that I did learn a lot through the groups and internship, but unfortunately it does not seem to be enough for employers.
When a college grad gets a phone call from an employer saying that they want them to come in for an interview, the college grad usually is filled with joy.
As they prepare for their interview, they picture themselves moving to a new town, meeting new people and starting their independent lives. Some college grads even will start looking at housing options before an interview to get an idea of what is out there. Pretty much they have their hopes up, and a majority of the time the dream ends there.
After the interview, comes the process of waiting to hear back from the potential employer. This could last from a week to a month, from my experience.
Then when the hopeful phone call comes, the college grad hears that they are not offered the job and that the employer chose someone with more - wait for it - "experience."
I once interviewed for a job and I thought it went very well, but when I got the phone call they informed me that they chose someone with more "experience." However, the thing that blew my mind away was that they said, "We know this goes with the standard you cannot get a job without experience, but you can't get experience without a job. However, we have to go with someone who has experience." So, this left me with the impression that employers know that what they are doing is wrong, but yet they do it anyway.
Then there are the rejection emails that college grads receive just from applying without being offered an interview. This is the most common response that I have received in my hunt and this is an example of what is sent, "The hiring area has reviewed your credentials and wants to advise you that they will be selecting someone else whose background and experience is more closely related to their expectations for the job."
Although this is disappointing, I can understand why they communicate through email.
However, after about the 10th email like this one, most college grads are banging their head against a wall.
The one thing that pushes my buttons, and I am sure I am not the only college grad who thinks this, is when you take your time and use your money to go on an interview and you get a rejection email instead of a phone call.
I understand that it is the year 2013 and technology is the main way to communicate, but I feel that if a hopeful candidate adjusts their schedule to come to an interview, the least the employer could do is pick up the phone and tell them they selected someone else. Call me old fashioned for my age, but I consider that common curtsey.
As I have stated before, this is not what happens to every college grad, but this happens to a majority of them. This is information taken from personal experience. After all this is said and done, I ask the age old question - how can a college grad get "experience" without a job and how do they get a job without "experience?"
Wright, of Williamsport, graduated from Shippensburg University in May with a bachelor's degree in communication and journalism. Her column prints the last Monday of each month in the Education section.