High School Grads: Fight Your Tough Job Market   

High school grads can fight the difficult job market
High school grads presently face a difficult job market. A shocking 33% of high school graduates are either unemployed or underemployed. Despite the bleak numbers, you certainly can — and you will — find your footing in the marketplace. After you land your first position, the experience and training you gain will help you as you take steps to advance your career. Keep these four tips in mind.

Try harder

Regardless of what you’re doing to find a job, try harder. Expand your search. Apply to more positions. Spend more time on your resume and cover letters. Your resume should be better, your interview should be stronger, your follow-up should be even more immediate and polite. Your clothes should neater, your attitude should be more professional. Whatever they can offer, make sure you can offer just a little bit more.  Polish your presentation, boost your smile to megawatt levels, and get ready to prove that you’re a reliable person. You know that you’re ready to learn and you know how to work hard. Now you just need to prove it. Until you’ve accumulated tangible evidence, it can be difficult to convince employers. You possess what investors call upside potential. Convince others to take a chance on you. Once you’re in the door, the sky’s the limit.

Don’t walk away from closed doors

If the job post reads “college degree required,” high school grads should apply anyway. You won’t suffer any consequences or pay any fines for sending in your resume. As we noted in the first point, consider what your competitors might be doing and do a little more. When you receive a response from a company, don’t hide the fact that you don’t have a college degree. Mention it, then highlight other talents you have and explain how they apply to the position.

Research your job market

The job market is shrinking for high school graduates. In fact, the unemployment rate for young high school graduates is 17.8%. Don’t give up! Look into jobs like postal-service mail carriers, claims adjusters, subway operators, healthcare support personnel, and many more. Some positions require training and certification — such as a phlebotomy technician — but less so than a four year degree. Consider this path if it interests you. Thoroughly investigate the opportunities around you.

Your education isn’t over

Even if you don’t plan to pursue a college degree in the foreseeable future, high school grads still have access to education and training credentials. Keep an eye on individual training and certification courses, continuing education courses, apprenticeship opportunities, and other forms of non-traditional learning. Consider free online courses that help you specialize in specific areas. Once you start pursuing these, you can add this education to your resume.

Excel in your first year

Once you land an opportunity, don’t be afraid to overcommit. Work a little harder and smile little brighter than you may be able to maintain for the next 40 years of your working life. Set expectations for yourself that may feel a bit unrealistic over the long term. Give a bit more and expect a bit less. You can readjust these bars after you’ve made a name for yourself and gained your employer’s recognition and trust. For more on how to work your way into a stable and fulfilling career, degree or not, explore the guidelines and tools available on MyPerfectResume.