A Fresh Boost of Optimism

One of the things I love about this time of year is the hopefulness that comes with college graduations. Young people with fresh ideas and high hopes enter the workforce, and illustrious commencement speakers offer wise reflections (sometimes) that can motivate us anew.

As the Class of 2009 faces one of the bleakest job markets in years, many of its members are surprisingly optimistic about their chances for finding jobs. According to a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 52% of seniors believe they will find a job within three months of graduation.

Lest you think these youngsters are deluded by rose-colored glasses, 64% said they are worried about their job prospects, and 61% blame the economy as an impediment to getting a job.

"The results suggest that students understand the economy is a factor, but do not believe it will stop them from finding a job," said Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.

It's a great attitude that all job seekers should adopt.

To help new job seekers, here are a few tips from the article "New Grads: What to Do When You Can't Get the Jobs You Want" from Yahoo! HotJobs:

  • Adjust your expectations. Don't restrict yourself to jobs that are directly related to your major. Focus on transferable skills that get your foot in the door, and you can transition later.
  • Don't rely only on resumes. Use your alumni and college career resources, and network as much as you can. You may get a job based on a referral, not a resume.
  • A part-time job is still a job. Don't reject part-time work as you search for the job you want. The experience will be useful and will reflect well on your work ethic.

For more helpful advice for new grads starting their professional lives, check out these articles:


As for inspiration, I'm still waiting for some good nuggets from this year's crop of speeches. For me, nothing has been able to top a 2002 address by the late Mr. Rogers, with its simple, moving example of what it means to win.

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