When Howard Rudnick graduated from Florida Atlantic University, he expected to land a job in his field of study.
The 23-year-old graduated with a degree in political science, but his hopes were dashed when he realized how poor the nation's economy and job outlook stood.
"I'm finding that all these entry-level jobs are requiring experience I don't have or degrees that are just unattainable right out of college," Rudnick told The Associated Press.
So instead of holding out in hopes of landing a job in his field, Rudnick took a job earning $25,000 a year working for an online shoe company. Now he's feeling the pinch of his student loan debt while making a modest living.
"The worst part is that I'm afraid at some point I may have to go back to school to better myself and take on more debt just so I can get a better-paying job," he said.
Times are tough for college graduates
The McKinsey & Company, a consultancy firm, reported that 41 percent of graduates from top universities and 48 percent of those from other schools were not able to net jobs in their chosen field after graduation.
While the AP stated Americans with college degrees are still much more likely to land a job opportunity than those who don't have a degree, opportunities for new college graduates remain limited.
"Every way you cut it, young college grads are really having trouble - much more trouble than they used to have," said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute. "The labor market is not producing decent jobs."
The Labor Department reported that 260,000 college graduates were forced to work at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour in 2013. That's more than twice the workers - 127,000 - who earned such low pay in 2007 when the recession began. However, 2013's total is down from the peak of 327,000 in 2010.
Tips for recent college graduates
Garry Polmateer told the New York Times that he wished he grasped the importance of dressing professionally right out of school.
"I worked in the I.T. department for a labor union and was generally in a cave, but sometimes I'd be asked to work on a board member's computer," he said. "I used to wear cargo pants and rumpled golf shirts. Sure, I was a broke, post-college student and thought spending money on clothes was ridiculous, but looking back, buying nice clothes is an investment to help get you ahead in the workplace."
Polmateer is doing well enough for himself despite the initial hiccup. He's the co-founder of Red Argyle, a company specializing in custom applications.
Job interview consultant Vicky Oliver agrees completely with the professional attire perspective Polmateer discussed. She told the Times that dress codes are "hugely important. They're a sign of respect for the place. If you're violating them, you're saying, 'I don't respect the culture."
So even if a recent college graduate doesn't have much extra cash in their savings account, it's a good idea to spend some money when they can on proper work attire.
Another major area of concern pertaining to recent college grads in the workplace is feeling a sense of entitlement. Oliver said acting entitled if they think they are overqualified for the position is a surefire way to aggravate co-workers and management.
"If you have a chip on your shoulder, you'll make the job worse and leave with a bad recommendation," she said.
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