Many new grads finding only part-time work

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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For recent college graduate Brandis Johnson, getting ready for work each day isn't exactly what she expected.

"I've tried everything. I've been on the Internet. I've been on multiple interviews and it's just, nothing has happened," Johnson said.

So, while she searches each day for her dream job, she earns an income at a part-time gig. 

"I didn't want part time. Honestly, I didn't," she said. "But in order for me to get my foot in the door, I felt like I have to start somewhere." 

A lot of recent college graduates are struggling to find a full-time job. In fact, one study found a whopping 27% of 2012 and 2013 graduates are working part-time, up from 16% the year before. 

"The nature of the jobs and the types of jobs that are available is changing. And I think that there, in many cases, is a big disconnect between what students go to school and think they are going to do and what's actually available when they come out of school," said Dan Ryan, a human resources consultant with the Society for Human Resource Management. 

Millennial researcher Dan Schawbel says new grads have to come to grips with their new reality, and they shouldn't pass up part-time proposals that could be good resume builders. 

"They have to get as much experience as possible. This means do freelance work that's relative to their strengths and what their skill set is. That means networking as much as possible.  This means developing your digital profile, creating a strong LinkedIn profile, starting a blog, getting active on Twitter, networking directly with hiring managers that can hire you or refer you to another position," Schawbel explained.

He says it's important to be proactive if you're in a part-time position. 

"You never want to be in a situation where you're just waiting for a full-time gig to happen. What you need to do is position yourself for success, meaning that you want to do a full-time amount of work in a part-time job, so it's much easier to justify you getting paid full-time," Schawbel added.

Ryan points out more and more companies now prefer part-time arrangements, since they are a chance to test drive an employee. He predicts this type of work after earning a degree will become even more common.

"Over the next ten to twenty years, employees in the work force will not only have multiple jobs, they may have multiple careers," he said.

That's not the news Johnson wants to hear, but she feels with her part-time gig, her career is moving in the right direction.   

"With this job I feel like it's giving me that experience I'm looking for, especially in customer service and sales," said Johnson.

Ryan says college students should actually start thinking about employment in their first year of college!  He says they should apply for internships and even co-ops throughout their college years to make sure they stand out among their peers when it comes to hiring time.

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