Overcoming the Financial Slap When You Graduate

by admin on December 5, 2011

School-to-work transition should not be hard now that you’ve graduated with magna cum laude (you think). Living in a postsecondary bubble for 4 years, you have some expectations of what a good job will pay and look like. However, you may receive a rude awakening when you start looking for a well-paid job, which is your first job out of school. This is the reality for many graduates in Canada who take part-time jobs to compensate for low-paying starter jobs.

So, how to overcome the financial slap and not feel bad about it? You may find comfort in the fact that more than one third of university graduates in the country are forced to take low skilled jobs. In the OECD, Canada is second to Spain in this regard, and the low-wage sector has persisted despite the better-educated workforce. Telling young people to get better education may not be the key to dealing with poverty (Policy Note). 

Yet, some beg to disagree. Karen Birchard from the Chronicle notes that getting vocational training is one way to find a job. While colleges in Canada lack the amenities and resources of universities, they open the door to steady work. Officials at Centennial College, for example, claim that over ninety percent of their graduates find employment within 6 months of graduating. Other colleges in Canada boast similar success. How to explain this? President Emeritus of Seneca College Rick Miner points out that colleges maintain relationships with the industry and business. So, they know what the business needs and how many jobs are out there. The outcome? Today, Canadian colleges have turned into a finishing school for university grads, Miner notes (the Chronicle).

If you don’t want to go back to the classroom, however, one option to consider is taking an internship. According to founder of TalentEgg.ca Lauren Friese, taking an unpaid internship may be a better idea than pursing another degree and forking over tons of money to get it. With an internship, be it unpaid or paid, new graduates get industry connections, which open the door to paid work. Those who consider an internship, however, should choose a reputable company and one that will make it possible to move to the next level. Part-time positions require you to be strategic as well.

Indeed, networking may be one way to land your first job after graduation. This is what Winthrop Sheldon and Graham McWaters, authors of The Canadian Student Survival Guide claim. According to them, referrals resulting from networking generate eighty percent more results compared to cold calls. Moreover, close to 70 percent of persons find their jobs precisely by networking. The question is where to start? One way to go about it is to look into websites (e.g. Young Canada Works), which are aimed at recent graduates and students looking for unpaid and paid internship opportunities. Working a part-time job is another way to network. Given that youth unemployment sits at 14 percent, which is twice the national average, it’s at least a start (the Globe and Mail).

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