Motivated. Results-oriented. Jobless.
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TEXT OF COMMENTARY
TESS VIGELAND: Last month’s unemployment figures did contain a ray of hope for recent college grads who may be wondering what, exactly, that diploma will get them in this economy.
Figures show the unemployment rate for high school graduates is 9.4 percent. For those with a college degree, it’s only 4.7 percent. Still, that’s small comfort to commentator and new graduate Sarah Klenakis.
SARAH KLENAKIS: “Easy for you to say, you’ve got a job.”
I said this to President Obama recently, after he declared that, despite high unemployment rates, things are getting better.
My beef isn’t really with the president, but when you spend all day surfing job boards, even an image on TV can come under your wrath.
When I decided to pursue a Master’s in writing, I knew I wouldn’t get the job security of an MBA or CPA certificate. But I’d worked my way through grad school at a small P.R. firm, so with four years work experience, I assumed that even in a rough economy, I was a viable job candidate.
But the exciting prospect of a new career soon morphed into full-blown exasperation. I’ve built professional profiles online and asked everyone I know to “keep their ears open.” My vocabulary’s swarming with phrases like “highly motivated” and “results-driven.” The objective atop my resume has been changed more often than a newborn.
Cover letters clog my desktop, each one highlighting why I’m a perfect fit for the online magazine in Manhattan, the copywriting team in San Francisco, the think tank in D.C., the nonprofit in Boston, even the retailer in Maine.
Four months and 50 applications later, I haven’t had a single interview, only nightmares of moving back in with my parents.
That’s when the panic starts.
Like an insecure girlfriend, I’m filled with questions: Did I do something to turn off my potential employers? Was I too anxious? Soon, I’m reliving every dance I never had a date to.
I want to believe President Obama when he says things are getting better, just as I want to believe all the effort and money I sunk into my education will eventually pay off. But what happens next? When I’m my parents’ tenant, with a resume that remains unnoticed? When will these “better things” finally trickle down to me?
Until then, I’ll keep applying. As a highly motivated and results-driven individual, would you expect anything less?
VIGELAND: Sarah Klenakis is a recent graduate of George Mason University’s creative writing program. She’s still looking for work.
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