Congratulations on Graduating... By the Way - We Chose Somebody More Qualified
Anytime I search for HR positions, ones that I know I'm qualified for (HR Assistant, payroll clerk, etc.), there are those lovely little words, "must have at least 3-5 years of HR experience." It's pretty difficult to get hands on HR experience if you can't find anything entry level in Human Resources...
I'm pursuing my bachelor's degree in HR management, maintaining a 3.92 GPA on a 4.0 scale, have become extremely involved with our local workforce development agency (grant volunteer)... yet I don't have 3-5 years of HR experience. I can not tell you how many rejection emails and letters I've received because a "more qualified candidate was selected."
Work for Free & Get Job Experience
I get frustrated when others tell me, "just take on an unpaid internship so you can get experience." These are fabulous ideas for traditional college students that are still living at home with their parents. But I doubt the company I intern or volunteer to work for is going to pipe up and volunteer to pay all of my bills. I'm a non-traditional student and have a family to support.
In addition to not being able to financially afford not being paid, I don't have enough time to gain 3-5 years of HR experience before I graduate. I'm currently a junior - I've finally returned to college after nearly a decade. Even if I start to intern for a great company, I'm not going to get that 3-5 years.
Chasing After Carrots
Have you ever noticed that certain companies will post and re-post one particular job over and over and over again? One company I've been watching has a position that I would love to call mine. I'd be working with disabled individuals and assisting them with career development and planning within the workforce development field. If you have gotten this far, I'm sure you've noticed I really like workforce development ;)
While I have the soft skills and passion for such a position, I don't quite have my bachelor's degree. Once I have my degree, I might have a shot for it... Then again, probably not since I won't have those 3-5 years of HR experience.
So... How Can Michigan Businesses Help?
There are three main paradigm shifts that Michigan businesses can take to stop this:
1. Offer Entry Level Jobs for College Grads
2. Offer Paid Internships
3. Offer Mentoring or On The Job Training Programs for Grads
By offering entry level positions to recent college graduates, businesses are not pushing these grads out of state. Think about investing $50,000 and then watching it burn in front of you - same concept. Students spend an outrageous amount of money on higher education so they can get those essential degrees. Then they get into their junior or senior years of college and wake up to the realization that they just are not welcomed here in Michigan. All businesses, whether small or big, need to band together and start offering entry level positions to keep and attract the young professionals in.
Another advantage of hiring a new graduate is the fact that they aren't "set in their way" or stuck in the mind frame that change isn't productive. You get an eager, willing to learn and take on new responsibilities, along with creative and innovative perspectives that could prove to be a huge asset to your business.
With high numbers of unemployed and underemployed people and several scholarships and grant money available for college educations, the "traditional" student is becoming less and less "traditional." You now have single parents who are the sole provider for their children in the mix. Often times, these non-traditional students aren't in a position where they would be able to work for free.
So if a single parent wants to get some valuable hands on immersion, are they supposed to quit their job and volunteer to intern within a corporation? What about welfare reform laws? People are disqualified from any assistance if they up and quit their jobs. So... why don't businesses offer a step-pay scale for their internships? Below is a proposed pay scale for undergraduate interns:
0-15 credits $8.00 per hour
16-30 credits $9.00 per hour
31-45 credits $10.00 per hour
46-60 credits $11.00 per hour
Junior Level - Associate's Degree
61-75 credits $12.00 per hour
76-90 credits $13.00 per hour
91-105 credits $14.00 per hour
106-120 credits $17.50 per hour
If businesses are able to recruit a freshmen in college and that student works diligently and continues employment during the entire course of their four year degree, loyalty, dedication and the corporate culture is being absorbed by that student. Why hire an outsider that may be stuck in their own ways or accustomed of their previous employer's policies and not be a good fit within the culture of your company? Think about a dedicated, eager and hard working student that wants to work for you because you took a gamble on them and they want to prove their worth to you.
Management trainee programs and mentoring opportunities need to also increase. BNSF Railroad offers a Management Training program in Texas. This is an actual company that I'm very serious about applying to if I can't land a job after I receive my bachelor's in May 2013. Unfortunately, I haven't seen Michigan businesses offering these programs.
In this economy it truly is an employer's market and they are afforded the luxury of holding out for the best of the best in their hiring decisions. Unfortunately, it's pushing grads out of state and companies continue to post and re-post the same exact positions multiple times while the open position remains unfilled.
Capital Area Michigan Works currently has an online survey for college students. Feel free to participate and pass it along to other college students. The website is
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