what will they pay me to do?
March 17, 2011 12:29 PM   Subscribe

What jobs are new college grads qualified for? Snowflakey details.

I'm 23, graduating in May with a BA in sociology/anthropology (minored in environmental studies). I have a year of full time experience doing community organizing/working with at risk youth, ~6 years part time experience working as a tutor or sometimes supervisor in various programs often aimed at at risk youth, a couple years of part time internship at an art museum, and a couple summers working at environmental nature-centery type places. I've been told I write very well, I have your average college grad computer skills (and decent graphic design skills, although I have no formal training), and have good relationships with past employers.

After graduating, I'm hoping to move back to Chicago, where I used to live (but I'm looking elsewhere too). As soon as I land there I'll probably immediately start looking at temp agencies/turning in applications at fast food places, but continue looking for a more interesting job (I realize that it's not a great time to look for nonprofit work).

The problem is, I have no idea what kind of jobs are within my reach. I'm looking for non profit work because that is where most of my experience is (and what I'm interested in). Ideally I'd find something about environmental education for kids, and I've applied to some Americorps programs in that area that are my dream jobs. But, I'm also looking at a lot of programs mostly aimed at youth out of community centers, non profits, schools, etc. Are 'coordinator' type positions the kind of thing I should be aiming for or would those go to people with more experience? I don't want to shoot to high, but I haven't got a good concept of what positions would be available to a new grad.

Outside of nonprofit work, what am I qualified for? I'm not against working at an entry level corporate position, I just don't know why they'd want me. But maybe they would? If so, what kind of jobs would I be looking for there?

Also, my school's career services is pretty useless, I've already talked to them although we did work on my resume.
posted by geegollygosh to Work & Money (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not against working at an entry level corporate position, I just don't know why they'd want me

Because you can write, communicate, and have ambition. They figure they're smart enough to train you to do what you need to do, and certain consulting companies which are known for hiring a lot of straight-out-of-undergrad workers pay relatively low salaries, so they're getting workers for cheap, even if they don't work out.

I have a couple friends with your background who ended up doing youth education/outreach for their local science museums.

What jobs are your classmates getting?
posted by deanc at 12:38 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Lot of jobs with "assistant" in the title. Maybe "coordinator" but it seems like a lot of times those are the jobs the "assistants" get promoted to.
posted by ghharr at 12:50 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

In the non-profit world, titles are all over the map, so I wouldn't assess any job listing solely based on the fact that it lists coordinator in it. Don't worry too much about shooting too high. If you don't make the first cut, no one will likely remember your application enough to hold it against you in the future.
posted by advicepig at 12:54 PM on March 17, 2011

"Coordinator" is often just the word companies use when they think "assistant" sounds too lowly.

If your college is near Chicago, there's likely to be a good network of alumni living there who will know of places that are hiring.

And it never hurts to aim high. Worst case scenario, someone tosses your resume and forgets about you. Best case, they're impressed enough that they either hire you anyway or find a position for you.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:17 PM on March 17, 2011

The problem with having a target market is it immediately cuts out 99% of the jobs you could get. And while there are certainly more openings in Chicago than in Boise, there are many more recent grads in Chicago who are competing for those jobs.

So I can't tell you who is hiring, but I can tell you where the jobs are: all over the nation. If you are really serious about getting a job, start a nationwide search, and don't write off any locations just yet (okay, maybe Alaska).

I probably have an unusual peer group, but the only unemployed college grads that I know are those who are stuck on one city. Seriously - every single one of my friends who is willing to move for a job has a job (like I said, we're an odd group). Someone, somewhere is ready to hire you, but you have to look far and wide and be willing to take the offer. Feel free to give preference to places in Chicago, but start your nation-wide search now. You can always quit after a year or two and move back to Chicago with some experience under your belt.
posted by Tehhund at 1:18 PM on March 17, 2011

You seem interested in nonprofit work but discouraged. If you haven't looked at it already I would suggest idealist.org. The job requirements are very specific usually, I find them to be much better written than those on other job sites especially craigslist which often just has a few words about experience and doesn't give a good idea of qualifications necessary. Even if you are not qualified you can find out what you need to get there, often just some experience in grant writing or volunteering in a certain area.
posted by boobjob at 2:48 PM on March 17, 2011

Don't forget to apply to take Civil Service tests. At the local and state level, titles like Office Assistant (level III, typically) and Management Analyst I would be where to start.
posted by SMPA at 5:08 PM on March 17, 2011

As you're interested in working with youth, have you considered looking into either becoming a substitute teacher or a paraprofessional? I know the job market's tough right now in education, it might be worth putting in the applications. These are great positions to gain more experience working with kids as well as make some connections to the CBO's (community-based organizations) that support youth in your area.
posted by smirkette at 8:23 AM on March 18, 2011

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