Job hunting is harder than it looks

by Marissa Ochoa

Countless cover letters, multiple resumes and zero interviews. Welcome to the life of a typical young adult, where we dig through job listings to find a minimum wage job that could help pay our way through college, or maybe at least fund our books. Jobs for young adults have become so competitive that to even get an interview you have to know somebody that knows somebody.

For $8 an hour, you’d think college students would have no problem finding something to give them a little more cash at hand. Ideally, an easy clock in, clock out job would be available. It sounds simple, but for many students it’s nothing but a pipe dream.

Since the beginning of 2013, I have been applying for jobs left and right. I have written dozens of cover letters and resumes, and I now have an enormous archive saved on my desktop. The only interview I received was from Jack in the Box because of a friend’s referral. If not for her help, I probably wouldn’t have been considered. Why is that? Has it become so competitive for petty jobs that I can’t even get myself an interview as a cashier? It took until the end of October for me to finally be employed by a dance studio. I was starting to believe that I was personally at fault for my unemployment, but I’ve come to realize that I wasn’t the only one struggling to find a job that catered to both my money and time needs. With nearly 75 million young adults out of a job worldwide according to a Huffington Post article, it’s no wonder finding part-time work at a local fast food chain is like winning the lottery.

Students have the worst luck when it comes to jobs. Our schedules are so scattered that finding an employer who’s willing to work with a student applicant’s hours comes once in a blue moon. I’ve been turned down for simple barista or retail jobs solely because a more flexible work schedule is preferred. How do employers expect students to keep up with our classes, pay our way through school and still have a flexible schedule?

It’s expensive to live in 2013 and it will only get harder. Society gives students no choice but to look for work. Without a job I would have to sell an organ to pay for my upcoming semesters. I would probably have to give up an arm and a leg to pay for rent as well. We all look for work to pay the ever-rising prices and still pass our classes, but employers want someone that is available 24/7. Not only that, the dreaded “experience needed” can cut out half of the open jobs we’re seeking. How am I supposed to have experience if what I’m seeking is experience? Not everyone worked in high school, so looking for a job is relatively new for some students. Without those experience requirements filled, all we’re doing is wasting time on a resume that won’t even be looked at.

The most appalling thing about unemployment among young adults is not why we’re unemployed, but why we’re even worried about unemployment. Isn’t it our job to be students first and workers second? Our responsibility should be to our education and not to our bills. However, schools and housing love to throw us curveballs. It was once common to be in school without a job under your belt. Nowadays, making money is essential to keeping up with everything a college student has to deal with. Unfortunately, having a job can be an even bigger burden than actually looking for one. Constantly devoting your spare time to making money will have dire consequences on your academics. The way I see it, students have two choices: They can be both unemployed and not make rent, or they can be employed and let their grades slip. This vicious circle we live in is nothing more than a day in the life of a college student. As time goes on, money will only become more essential to our lives. It’s depressing to know that what we deal with now is only the introduction to what we will be facing when we enter the real world.