Quite honestly, the economy sucks. Unemployment is still at 9.5%, and out of 1.5 million fresh faces graduating from college each year, 60,000 of them are bright eyed, bushy tailed, and unemployed.
I wish I was making these numbers up. The other figure that depresses me is the 1.2 million people in the US who are not searching for work because they believe that no available work exists. People have given up.
But I found a job. I got my bachelor's in 2007, and have had a 9-5 ever since. And despite all this news about the economy being in the shitter, I managed to get a new job with a $10,000 raise in February. My former company was going through a salary freeze, and despite our division turning a record profit, I got tired of seeing the less profitable divisions benefit from our hard work without us doing the same. So I jumped ship.
And it isn't just me who is finding work in a troubled economy. My circle of friends, most of whom work for a giant aerospace company in the area, have each been promoted within their organizations a few times in the past three years. The point is that it can be done. If these guys can manage to hold onto their jobs and get promoted in a tough economy, I am willing to bet that other less fortunate college grads can do so too.
The job market has changed. And there are more people than ever competing for the same jobs in the same places. They get on a job site like CareerBuilder or Monster, they post their resume to any jobs that fit their desired criteria (which at this point is pretty much anything that doesn't require selling insurance), and they wait. A few weeks later, they talk to me about how frustrated they are that it hasn't panned out, "I've applied to 50 different jobs, and NONE of them will email or call me back!"
Then the victim mentality sets in. The unfairness of the whole damn situation overwhelms them, and they roll up their sleeves and try their luck on Craigslist. The process repeats.
You just have to learn how to play a different game.
I don't mean to hold anything in your face, or demean the fact that you may not have a job right now. I've been unemployed and searching before, and after a while it can really wear on you. But what I can do is share what has helped college graduates like me get work in a shitty economy. Anything to save you from moving back in with your parents.
My first piece of advice: accept that the world is an unfair place. Accept that it's also far more abundant than any bloated job site will indicate. Read "The Alchemist" if you want an inspirational folk tale to help your search. I'm serious.
Every single job that I have found throughout my career except one has been through somebody that I know. This isn't just about networking, it's about putting that social network that you have to good use. The BEST way to get an interview is through somebody you already know. Spamming job sites with your resume does not work, because that's exactly what everybody else is doing.
And yes, I found my $10k raise through somebody I knew. My personal and professional relationship with them got me an interview, and once my foot was in the door, getting a job became much simpler.