How to Land a Job After College


Why are so many recent US college graduates unemployed or underemployed? The changes in the labor market are important for younger generations to pay attention to. When college students are deciding what majors to choose and what career paths to follow, it is critical for them to understand how technology and outsourcing are affecting the job market and the skills required for today’s jobs. As we saw in the class article “A World of Work,” low-skilled jobs are not the only jobs being outsourced anymore. Many white-collar jobs, such as software engineering, information technology, medical services, and administrative work are being outsourced to India, China, and other countries abroad because they have many workers who offer the right set of skills, strong educational backgrounds, and cheap labor. The Los Angeles Times said that American students in the legal service fields are having an incredibly difficult time finding work after graduation because “some legal services are being outsourced to such places as India, and Internet-based companies are offering consumers relatively inexpensive help navigating litigation.” US college graduates need to rethink what career paths they should follow and what skills they need to effectively compete in the global market.

Along with the recession, outsourcing and technological innovations have left grim prospects for American college graduates. College graduates face diminishing job options and many are coming out of college and entering clerical low-skill positions. They are taking jobs that in the past have only required a high school diploma, and the gap between the earnings of college graduates and their less-educated peers has declined. The Center for College Affordability and Productivity found that about 48 percent of employed US college graduates are in jobs that require less than a four-year college education and 37 percent are in occupations requiring no more than a high-school diploma. Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets, said that, “Not everyone is benefiting from a postsecondary education…The growing use of technology and machines to replace human workers, outsourcing, and the baby boom’s big presence in the job market have all had an effect on today’s twenty–through-forty-somethings.”


In order to compete with countries like China and India who produce thousands of specialized workers, American workers should think about how to compete in the global market. The younger generations should be more educated in science and technology to be able to fill high-tech jobs that are offered by US companies. Vineet Nayar, the highly respected CEO of HCL Technologies, one of India’s IT services vendors, controversially stated that, “Most American grads are unemployable.” There are a few reasons for this. Labor is cheaper in other countries and many US companies do not want to pay more to train American graduates when foreign workers have similar skills and education. However, it is not only outsourcing that is the problem. Many US college graduates lack the right technical skills that are needed for the jobs. Some experts are saying there is a mismatch between the skills and education young people are acquiring in their educations and what’s needed in the workforce. Benjamin Tal uses the phrase “people without jobs and jobs without people” to describe this situation. If current college students are wary about finding a job after graduation, it might be time to think about the skills that are needed for current and future jobs. American workers have to anticipate and be prepared to work jobs that have not even been invented yet. While liberal education is very important, there needs to be a greater emphasis on technology, science, math, engineering, and other skills that prepare workers for a changing labor market, so domestic workers don’t lose out to foreign workers for new jobs. When thinking about the future, we have to assess what skills and innovations American workers need to compete in the global market in order to maintain our competitiveness as a nation.

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17 thoughts on “How to Land a Job After College

  1. This article is certainly relevant to our class, as we will all soon be looking for jobs after college. I think it is definitely true that American students should start to focus more on technology, math, science, and other technical skills in order to stay competitive in today’s global workforce. However, I wonder if there is more the government could be doing in order to create more jobs for recent graduate students. As Professor Kane mentioned in class, there seems to be a lag time between skills and available jobs. Do you think that there is anything our nation’s leaders can be doing in order to create more jobs for the U.S. people, or do you think it is mostly our responsibility to anticipate future jobs?

  2. I enjoyed/hated reading this article. I enjoyed it because it was a very good analysis of the current job market and that is relevant to class. I hated it because it was a very good analysis of the current job market. As a senior, I’m finding myself relating to the article. I should not that some students lack the technical skills required to perform needed for jobs but I have noticed that companies are creating their own institutes or training programs to prepare prospective employee to combat their lack of technical skills.

  3. I have noticed similar things, I am a senior as well and found this post incredibly applicable to my life the past few months. It’s terrifying knowing that you have to leave the bubble of college to enter the real world when there are not many jobs available. I often find myself questioning where my skills and degree fit into our work world. What I fear is that this problem is going to get worse and what happens to those left behind in our own country. What happens to those people that just don’t have the ability to master complex technology or don’t thrive in these fields? Not everyone is good at math, science, information systems. How do we “make room” in our society for all types of majors?

  4. As stated by all above, I found this article very relevant to this class and to our current lives. During freshmen orientation, we watched many promotional videos about BC. They all advertised how BC educates the entire person, paying tribute to their liberal arts Jesuit education foundation. I have valued this approach to education as I am able to take classes of many different interests. Therefore, it is troubling to read the facts that clearly show that people with specific skills are needed, more specifically, people with technological computer skills. In my sociology class, we constantly talk about how our generation is the first generation that has a strong possibility of not being as successful as our parents. This idea is very scary to say the least. This transitional period in society will prove to be a difficult challenge to overcome. I am confident that our society will be able to adapt and change to these new forces at work, I just hope it doesn’t take us too long to finally find a place for everyone before negative consequences begin to really have a long-term dramatic effect on the economy and society in general.

  5. What a great blog post! The content is both relevant and highly important for us to think about. Though it is sobering news, I think it is important for college students to think realistically about potential job options after college and use college to not only discover a passion but figure out how to apply that passion to a specific industry with job openings.

    I was surprised to see that the gap between wages earned by those with a bachelor’s degree and those with a only a high school diploma is narrowing. I found the graph helpful to visually understand the changing trends.

  6. I initially opted to read this blog because I am a senior and I don’t have a job. The more subjects we learn and study in this class related to technology, the more I fear I have not focused enough on developing a pertinent and useful skill-set. I am a political science major taking this class because of the relevance technology holds in the modern day work place no matter what field of work one is in. I may be exaggerating my worries, but I feel as if I have not adapted in some cases to the shifting labor demand. This article is vital to the college student’s thought process and future planning.

  7. Thank you for this blog post! Your title caught my eye, and the information is extremely helpful to any college student, taking this class or not. At times it is difficult to fathom life after college, outside of the BC bubble, with the increasingly grim outlook on the future job market that seems to be broadcasted to us everywhere we turn. As a previous comment stated, BC educating its students to become “the whole person” is one of its major claims-to-fame—yet how relevant, really, is that type of education in the modern world? As a student in the Lynch school, especially, I freak out when I hear this stuff! Eventually the entire field of education/teaching could become obsolete when we have online classes, and the like, becoming more and more popular and accessible; this is yet another “industry,” if you will, that technology has the potential to take over in the future.

  8. While this blog was very informative, it scares me because I don’t think my skill set lines up with this future of math, science, and technology jobs. It’s horrifying that a CEO of a technology company thinks that American grads are “unemployable”. However, I can see how this could be the case seeing that most Americans are liberal arts majors even though there aren’t a lot of liberal arts jobs. I also found it interesting that Indian workers are more prepared because they attend technical schools where they obtain the specific skills that they will need in the workforce. Maybe this will become a new trend in America? Either way hopefully we figure out a way to prepare future grads so that we can compete with foreign workers.

  9. As much as I found this article interesting, I think it hit too close to home. As college students, this is what we need to worry about. How are we supposed to keep up with new technology that is introduced in later generating? I think this article was very relevant to what we have been talking about in class and you did a great job discussing it in you blog. I think that the countries like India are smart for making their education systems very technically based. America really should start following suit, but at the same time the question has to be asked of what will happen if everyone becomes a business and technology major just for the sake of being employable? I think that people need to be mindful of this. Will this affect the quality of life if people start learning things that they truly dont find interesting just to make money?

  10. I think that this article was not only very well written and relevant to the class, but also it was organized as a real article on professional websites would be, so that is a good way to start. The article itself stood out to me right away with the Title, as it would catch the eye of any student in our class. I think that job placement is a reason for concern, since that is the ultimate goal of any college student. Especially here at Boston College, job placement is a reason why people pick certain majors that they do. Also, CSOM at Boston College is ranked so high nationally because of its job placement percentage. I know that one of the reasons I chose accounting is that it had a very high placement rate because there are a lot of jobs in that field. Outsourcing could hurt a lot of college students when they are looking for jobs after graduating, as if the job market was not competitive enough is it is…

  11. The main thing that resonated with me after reading this article is the comment that American undergraduates are unemployable. First, I think this is an overreaching claim that is way too broad. Yes, technology is shrinking demand for human labor, but that does not mean that it has eliminated it. Obviously having a strong background in technology is incredibly beneficial today. However, that does not mean that only computer science majors are worthy of employment. By saying that most undergraduates are unemployable means that it would be impossible for them to be able to sufficiently do the work their position demands of them. This may be true of the IT sector, but not with everywhere. I’m sure that with training a large portion of undergraduates would be able to find work. The problem is that companies do not seem to want to do this.

  12. I find this blog post incredibly interesting yet scary for myself as an individual soon competing for a job in the market. The statistics you mentioned about 48% of those with college degrees are employed in jobs that do not require a 4 year college education and the 37% needing no more than a high school diploma is haunting. Excellent job on organizing this post and including a graph to truly show the decline of earnings since 2000 of those with college degrees. Also, reading this reminded me of another article I’ve seen recently; it’s not only the United States who faces this potential problem, but Canada as well.

  13. This is a great article describing the negative aspects of outsourcing. Although the process saves a large sum of money for businesses, it is ultimately hurting both the current and future labor force at home. I feel that it’s increasingly difficult to find a job immediately outside of college and it is more important to focus on networking with companies rather than purely on grades and excelling academically. It seems as if more and more college students are basing their major on which is most likely to get them a job after school rather than on the individual’s passions. The learning curve also suggests that there is less of a need to excel academically or go to a well-known school because the wage gap between education levels are thinning.

  14. This was a very good blog post, but it is also very worrisome. It is understandable why companies will go to countries like China and India as opposed to employing people in the United States. The problem that I see is that the economy is not developing enough new jobs for American college graduates. We should not be trying to fill already existing jobs, but create new ones. Education also faces a serious challenge. It is already difficult to to be taught the skills needed for an existing jobs. However, current students have to be taught the skills for jobs that do not exist yet. These are some very significant obstacles that American graduates have to face.

  15. This is a very interesting blog post about a very pressing issue facing all of us as we enter the workforce within the next couple years. It is frightening to hear that “Most American grads are unemployable.” According to certain employers, American graduates don’t have the skills to succeed in the workforce. So what exactly are colleges today trying to prepare us for? The issue at hand is that American workers need to figure out what exactly will help them be more appealing to be hired, what are the skills that they are missing.

  16. This problem is widely known as structural unemployment. While companies and technology might be the culprits, I believe that it is already time for the government to step in and start implementing policies to fix it. Maybe giving more scholarships to tech-related majors or creating retraining programs could help restructure the job market. Solutions are plenty. The key is that the government should start acting now so that the repercussions from this mismatch do not continue to grow as they have been growing for the last few years!

  17. Technology certainly has created quite a bit of disruption in the employabilty of college students. On top of the trend highlighted in the post, technology has also enabled a new level of automation that has obsoleted many jobs. I think current generations of employees have been forced into a position of evaluating the sustainability of their career choices.

    There is still significant value in the ideal of educating the entire person. Certain skills such as oral and written communication have remained invaluable despite the disruption caused by technological advancements. In addition, I believe an individual with a well-rounded education and background is likely more apt to innovate and think outside-the-box.

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