The gap between rich and poor isn’t only connected to race and gender, now it’s between young and old. According to the article below from USA Today, many young people (particularly those in the 25 to 34 year-old age bracket) are losing ground as their incomes shrink compared to earlier decades. One reason behind declining wage potential, economists say: The caliber of jobs available in a recession, and their accompanying wages, tend to suffer. High-end firms hire fewer people and drive down salaries because jobs are in such demand. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), an organization of career counselors, reports that employers will hire 22% fewer college graduates than last year.
If you are a recent college graduate, or you are preparing to graduate, take heart. Hard work, perseverance, strong thinking and decision-making skills and a commitment to your own competence is generally recession-proof. Here are some tips for turning this situation around from someone who got a job right out of college in the last bad recession:
1) Show a willingness to learn, to grow, to work hard and to do high quality work. To be credible you will need to share examples from school, work and community service that show exactly how you do this when you are interviewing for jobs.
2) Get internships which will attest to your business acumen and maturity. While many internships don’t pay, what you learn during an internship can be priceless and often lead to part-time or full-time work. Try on your career interests through seeing first-hand if you are cut out for what you think you love.
3) Develop a strong academic record complemented by leadership experiencee. You may not be at the top of the class, but if you work hard to learn all that you can and you get involved in activities to make a difference, you may be more valuable to an employer than the 4.0 student who isn’t as well-rounded. Show your employer that you are passionate and you know how to make a difference and provide specific examples.
4) Have a creative, determined and resourceful attitude which involves making a difference. If you are out of work right now and you have time on your hands, find a cause—any cause—that you value where your contributions can help. It could be reading to students, it could be teaching handicapped children to ski, it could be volunteering at an old folk’s home. Any of these activities—if your heart is in them—will make you a more valuable employee. When you interview, describe what you learned from this work, how it challenged you and how you grew. You may also get some valuable insight as to what you are called to do for your career.
If you are a graduate who really offers value, focuses on results and is a delight to work with you will have the strongest chance of landing a job as a starting point which can blossom into a career for you. Don’t worry if the job isn’t paying much, focus on what experience it provides to you so that when the economy turns around you will be ready to soar. Each experience is a stepping stone. You may need to work two jobs right now to make ends meet. You may have a lot less free time. But, when the economy turns around if you have worked hard in the tough times, you will have the resilience to do well when things are better. It is like storing up for the winter. And this is a good winter to store up with strong skills, more savings and good planning for the future.
by Dennis Cauchon
The incomes of the young and middle-aged — especially men — have fallen off a cliff since 2000, leaving many age groups poorer than they were even in the 1970s, a USA TODAY analysis of new Census data found.
People 54 or younger are losing ground financially at an unprecedented rate in this recession, widening a gap between young and old that had been expanding for years.
While the young have lost ground, older people have grown more prosperous over the years and the decades. Older women have done best of all.
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