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Recession Still Hasn’t Beaten Optimism Out Of One-third Of College Graduates

A new survey from The Creative Group reveals more than one-third (36%) of new college graduates are entering the job market with unrealistic job expectations.

The Creative Group asked 375 marketing executives and 125 advertising executives to assess what they’re seeing in today’s college graduates, and they said college graduates need to practice for the job interview. Doing some research on the company beforehand helps, too, as well as being realistic. Message: Don’t ask for the corner office and an outrageous salary when you don’t yet have the skills to pay the bills. This isn't 1999, when job applicants had over-sized egos but companies had to hire them because they needed warm bodies in chairs. If you're a 22-year-old job seeker, however, you were 10 years old in 1999, which means you probably weren't paying attention to the job market, so nevermind.

The Creative Group has a much kinder and gentler way of offering advice:
Researching average salaries and skills in demand can help new grads avoid over-or-underselling themselves during the application process," said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. "Job candidates also should learn as much as possible about the companies they are interviewing with so they can ask informed questions when meeting with hiring managers and get a realistic sense of what the position entails."

Every generation in history has overestimated itself, though. Thinking you're the bees knees until you find out that you're just another worker bee is the rite of passage of being a young adult. I can remember being 22 and thinking that I was going to conquer the world and make a bazillion bucks by age 40, at which point I’d surely be deciding which big-city penthouse with the spectacular views to buy.

I entered the job market but soon went back to graduate school because the economy was in recession. A few years later I re-entered the job market armed with a master's degree, only to find the economy was still in recession. I decided to become self-employed, which worked out very well for a number of years until the Great Recession happened. Now I’m just a broken-down Gen Xer wondering how I’ll be able to retire on Monopoly money as I sit around listening to sad Crowded House songs.

But yeah, it’s nice to start out of the gate brimming with unrealistic expectations, isn’t it? That's what being in your 20s is all about. Dream big, kids. Knock yourself out.

I'm surprised only 3% of the executives touted the importance of a social media profile to landing a job – and these are marketing executives! Are they telling us that all those media articles about positioning yourself on Twitter and Facebook to find a job are pretty much useless? Apparently so, but Twitter is still a great way to get followed by people you’re not sure are real people. SEO marketers, I’m looking at you.


  1. With this economy, there's always time to lose hope. Or start drinking at breakfast.


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