So you’ve got a diploma. What about a job?

After four, five or more years of hitting the books in the ivy-covered halls and havens of higher learning, students are turning their tassels, graduating and gearing up to enter the real world of work. Or are they?

It’s no picnic to graduate during one of the toughest job markets in recent history. Despite signs of improvement on the jobs front, new college grads face challenges they weren’t counting on when they started school as wide-eyed freshmen.

Many employers are reluctant to hire inexperienced workers when they have seasoned employees putting retirement plans on hold and hanging onto their jobs like grim death. How do you get that experience when it’s hard to get a foot in the door?

Are you a recent or soon-to-be college graduate? Have you found a job in your field? Have you even scored a job interview? Are you going back to your summer lifeguarding gig? Maybe you’re headed to graduate school and waiting for a better job market down the road.

Or worse, are you moving your stuff back into your parents’ house with an expensive piece of sheepskin in your hand and student loan payments looming on the horizon?

Tell us about your plans.

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Claire Rigsby, Amelia Reeves and Paula Joly Zwillich are all smiles before their graduation ceremony at Emory University in Atlanta.  John Spink, jspink@ajc.com

Claire Rigsby, Amelia Reeves and Paula Joly Zwillich are all smiles before their graduation ceremony at Emory University in Atlanta. John Spink, jspink@ajc.com

2 comments Add your comment

jared brieske

May 11th, 2010
11:26 am

As a now 39 year old, I recall continual reinforcing that I could study whatever I wanted as long as I graduated. As a father of 3 with the oldest being 8, My wife and I repeat the graduating aspect but now also pair that with “you must graduate with a marketable degree, preferably in government position.”

ahall

May 12th, 2010
11:21 am

You are right; admittedly, it is challenging to gain the useful experience that employers are seeking with so much competition and so little job opportunities. Thus, I am headed back to school. Personally, instead of wasting time bagging groceries at the local supermarket until the economy recovers, I believe that I can better use my time by obtaining another degree that will better position me once the economy recovers. However, for the summer I plan to do some volunteer work to increase my networking base and contribute to my community.