Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jobless grad goes back to the farm

By COURTNEY SERVAES, Herald Staff Writer | 11/10/2009

Unlike most recent graduates,  Brad Spencer always had something to fall back on.

When Spencer graduated from Kansas State University last spring, he was ready to find a job.

Unlike most recent graduates,  Brad Spencer always had something to fall back on.

When Spencer graduated from Kansas State University last spring, he was ready to find a job.

Spencer settled for Spencer Farms LLC — the family farm — when he couldn’t find one.

“I know many high school and college classmates who are finding it difficult to snag a job,” Spencer said.

Since graduating about six months ago, Spencer said he’s been scouring for jobs in the area — looking at job listings, searching the Internet and attending career fairs.

But nothing has worked out so far.

“I feel that it is much more difficult to locate and obtain a job due to the current economy,” he said.

New competition

Spencer said it’s difficult to get ahead when you can’t find a job to get you started.

Even though Spencer did well in college, his degree in business administration hasn’t helped land him a job.

“I don’t think that GPA played any role in the job application process at all,” he said. “I was never asked for my GPA.”

Spencer said academics only get you so far when you’re job hunting.

“Much of the problem stems from the number of applicants that apply for each job listing,” he said. “Additionally, many of the applicants have experience that relates to the position.”

Spencer said recent college graduates are no longer just competing against each other. They now are being forced to compete against people who have been in the job force for years.

“I feel that much of the older population has either had to continue working or have re-entered the job market to pay for mounting prescription and health care bills as well as other expenses,” he said.

Getting ahead

They are asking questions. But Susan Webb doesn’t have all the answers.

Webb, director of career services at Ottawa University, said she doesn’t know if anyone has answers for recent college graduates.

“You have to try to market yourself the best you can,” Webb said about joining campus organizations and participating in internships during undergraduate schooling. “Anything you can do to stand out.”

Spencer said he tried to take advantage of leadership opportunities during college in order to stand out during the application process.

“I feel that the benefit of joining the organizations was networking,” he said. “It really is about who you know, not what you know, although the employers were always very interested in what type of leadership roles I have had.”

Staying positive

It might not seem like it, but there still are jobs out there, Webb said.

Those jobs might not be right here in Ottawa, but Webb said she knows they exist.

“It just depends on what area and where they are going,” Webb said. “People are settling for jobs right now.”

Webb said recent graduates might have to venture out into larger cities to find jobs, but she’s trying to be optimistic about the economy.

“I think for the most part, what our job is in career services, we have to stay positive and we have to tell them to stay positive,” she said. “That’s hard to do, but we have to at least keep that forethought so that we know that the market will turn around. We really believe that.”

With all of that in mind, Spencer said he sometimes has trouble staying positive — but he tries.

“I stay positive by thinking that someday it is going to get better,” he said. “After a while, I just expect to get turned down, but I always approach the interviews like I am the man for the job.”

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