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Students & Recent Grads: How to Get a Real Job

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Dear J.T. & Dale: My 25-year-old son graduated from college more than a year ago and has yet to find a meaningful job. He has had interviews, but usually somebody else gets the job. I know the market is at its worst, but what can he do to find a job that is better than his current one, delivering pizzas? — Preston

J.T.: I can appreciate your frustration on behalf of your son. Times are tough for recent grads — one survey reported that only 20 percent of ’09 college graduates are currently working in professional jobs. So your son is not alone.

Dale: Which sounds merely disheartening; however, that statistic is important to remember as you watch your son don the Domino’s shirt every night. Knowing the odds he faces might just help you fight any secret suspicions that you’ve raised a slacker.

J.T.:It’s good to hear he has a job of any kind — I know many grads who can’t land anything. Let’s just hope his morale can hold up and that he continues to get interviews. Whatever you can do to help him network would be really useful — there are so many good people out there that most jobs never even get posted.

Dale: One terrific resource for you and your son is J.T.’s Web site devoted to young job-seekers: workitdaily.com. I don’t know anyone who has spent time there, reading the articles and watching J.T. on video, who doesn’t leave reinspired, as well as with enhanced skills. It’s true now more than ever: Every good job is a long shot. We need to support job-seekers to take more and better shots.


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Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten’s latest book is “(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success” (John Wiley & Sons).

Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.

© 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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