ORLANDO, Fla. – According to a recent study, nearly half of all recent college graduates are working in jobs that don't require a degree. That's a sobering number for parents whose children are enrolled in colleges and universities around Central Florida.
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But a local corporate recruiter says it doesn't have to be that way and offers students practical advice on what they should be doing outside of the classroom to help them land a job once they toss their graduation cap this winter or spring.
"I'm always shocked when I talk to students that they really think just because they have a degree they're going to get a job," said Alysse Metzler, recruiter and author of "The Recruiting Snitch".
Metzler calls the book an insider's guide to what she and her fellow recruiters expect from potential employees.
"It's all about understanding this game of employment," said Metzler.
She says college students should think of their job search as a game so that making the right moves while in school will win a student a job upon graduation.
Metzler's first tip: Students should join professional networking sites like LinkedIn and use the fact that they're in school as an advantage.
"Here's the secret: people always want to help college students but as soon as they graduate they're in the real world now, people aren't going to be so open to helping them," said Metzler.
Lionel Galvez, a junior marketing major at University of Central Florida says he's learned that lesson by Metzler's book in class.
"You do not always have to be like a super star student, like only A's and B's, but you have to get involved in organizations at the school, doing internships because that will help you build your resume," he said.
Second tip: List the top 10 companies in the industry where you want to work and keep up with their job listings.
"Now granted they won't be applying for the job right now but they can look at the jobs, familiarize themselves with the application system as well as look at the skills needed for these positions," said Metzler.
Tip no. 3: Students should also be networking with their professors.
"I know it may not look cool, but these professors have a network of professionals currently in the industry and they want to help you," explains Metzler.
Tip no. 4: Find your ability and work with it. Traits like organization, leadership or if you're good with numbers, Metzler says these things can all spell success or failure in your career.
"You will set yourself up for failure if you try a job that doesn't require your natural skills," she advised.
And lastly: Make sure there are enough jobs in your chosen field.
"Do that research now and if it requires changing a major or minor do it now, don't wait until you've graduated and you're sitting on the unemployment line and realize that what you went to school for unfortunately doesn't result in any jobs," said Metzler.
Galvez says the book has helped him with his career plans by more than just advising, he says it's energized him.
"I could read the book four or five times and every time I read it, it motivates me more and more," he said.
Metzler reinforced the importance of internships and finding your passion for whatever work you choose, adding, "Once they start to do those things - they're going to win that game."