While the job market appears to be on the mend, recent college graduates know they need to go the extra mile in order to get a foot in the door of their desired profession. And according to a Legal Momentum analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, young women with college degrees may face an even more difficult battle than their male counterparts.
The earnings disparity between men and women of similar qualifications has long been known and can be traced to a host of factors (for example, men tend to earn degrees in more lucrative fields than women), but women are also facing lower employment rates than men, despite holding an advantage in educational attainment. In analyzing data on women between the ages of 21 and 30, Legal Momentum found that 30 percent had a bachelor's degree, while just 23 percent of men in the same age bracket had a bachelor's degree.
Young women aware of such figures should rightfully be concerned. While there may be little recent female college graduates can do to address those concerns, there are steps they can take to improve their chances of landing a job in their chosen fields.
• Get experience. Any experience in your chosen field, regardless of how small your role might be, is potentially valuable experience. A willingness to tackle any task and get a better grasp of the industry will stand out to a prospective employer, especially if you are currently working as an intern with no promise of a full-time position come the end of your internship. The more you can learn about the industry you hope to work in, the more attractive you become to prospective employers.
• Don't be afraid to take an internship after graduation. Many young people think internships are only valuable while they are in college. But an internship after you have graduated can be just as valuable, especially in an ultra-competitive job market like the one today's graduates have found themselves in. Even if the internship won't earn you a dime, it's a chance to get your foot in the door and gain experience. Many companies are more inclined to consider past or current interns for full-time entry level positions than they are outside candidates. Don't be afraid to expand your job search to internships even if you already earned a college degree. Such opportunities might just prove your best chance to get your foot in the door.
• Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to give back, avoid the stir craziness that can accompany unemployment and put something positive on your resume rather than a big gap. In addition, volunteering can be a great opportunity to meet people and do some networking. A fellow volunteer might work in your field or know someone who does, and this person or persons can prove an invaluable resource for a young person just starting out.
• Stay focused. A job hunt can be exhausting, and it's easy for a young unemployed person to grow disillusioned about a process that seems to rely so heavily on randomness. But studies show that young women are already facing an uphill battle when looking for a job, and losing focus or allowing yourself to be discouraged will only make that hill more steep. If you are truly passionate about your field of study and devoted to finding a job within that field, then your chance will come if you remain patient and continue to focus on your job hunt.