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The graduation parties have ended, the traditional post-graduation rest period has passed and colleges are back in session for the 2023-2024 school year. Yet, many graduates of the class of 2023 have still not landed their dream jobs.

Many have impressive and very expensive degrees, so why the problem?

There is a common stereotype that Gen-Z, (born between 1996 and 2010), have a poor work ethic, which is why they struggle to find employment. However, this is far from the truth. Gen-Z is a group of diverse individuals who are highly educated, tech-savvy and ambitious. The problem is that many of them don’t know how to conduct a robust job search beyond clicking the “Apply” button on job boards like Indeed.

Gain Clarity About The Job You Want

Knowing what you want is the first step toward achieving it. Many college graduates struggle to find a job because they are not clear about what they want. Spend some time creating a clear vision of the kind of job you are looking for, the industry you want to work in, and the skills and experiences you offer and want to gain. Start by making a list—literally. Ask family, friends and professors for their feedback.

Take time to reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, interests and values. Think about the courses you enjoyed the most in college, the extracurricular activities you were most passionate about and the kind of work that gives you a sense of fulfillment.

From there, create a list of potential job titles, industries and companies that align with your goals and interests.

Go Beyond Job Boards

While job boards are a great starting point for your job search, they should not be the only tool you use. Try to go beyond them and explore other avenues for job opportunities, such as:

• Networking. Reach out to your circle of friends, family, alumni and professional connections to let them know you are looking for a job. Attend networking events, career fairs and industry conferences to meet new people and expand your network.

• Building relationships with recruiters. Recruiters can help match you with job opportunities that fit your skills and career goals. Make a list of recruitment agencies that specialize in your industry and reach out to them. While these agencies work for the employer, they can be a rich source of job openings you could not identify without their help.

• Targeting companies instead of job titles. This can help you learn whether you are a good match for the work, mission and culture of the company and it for you. Research companies you are interested in working for and reach out to them directly. Many companies have job openings that are not advertised on job boards.


While obtaining a fabulous college degree is a key factor when employers consider hiring you, recent graduates often rely upon the degree itself to get a job versus promoting what they learned within the context of the degree. This skewed focus can derail your job search success because you’re not promoting the value you can bring to an organization, which is what employers are hiring for! A lack of confidence can prevent a new college graduate from leaning into this approach, but it can be a strategy game-changer.

Furthermore, despite the new diploma burning a hole in your pocket, you still have not learned everything you need to perform the job you want at a high-quality level. This is where upskilling can make a major difference and separate you from the competition that is relying on their degree only. Technology is the greatest opportunity here, and there are hundreds of reputable organizations that offer courses and certifications that can boost your employability.

Identify the skills that are most important for the job you want by comparing the job postings to your current résumé and outline a plan to develop those skills. This could mean taking online courses, attending workshops or gaining practical experience through internships or part-time jobs.

Keep updated with the latest trends and developments in your industry. Join professional associations, follow industry blogs and participate in online forums and discussions.

Learn To Be Uncomfortable

The job search process can be challenging and new activities can make you uncomfortable. It often involves stepping out of your comfort zone, facing rejection and dealing with uncertainty. However, it is important to embrace the discomfort and view it as an opportunity for growth.

• Be proactive in your job search. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you—go out and create them. Reach out to companies you are interested in, even if they are not currently advertising any job openings.

• Practice resilience and stay positive. Rejection is a natural part of the job search process. Don’t be discouraged by it. Instead, use it as an opportunity to learn and improve. Ask for feedback from interviewers and use it to improve your interview skills and make yourself a stronger candidate.

Ultimately, the difficulty that new college graduates face in securing a job is not a reflection of their work ethic or sense of entitlement but rather a lack of understanding in navigating the complexities of the job market. Trying new approaches can open new doors to the right career opportunities.

Want more great tips? Check out for recent career-related information I’ve shared on numerous podcasts, television outlets, and radio shows.

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This article was originally posted on Forbes on September 21, 2023 and can be viewed here.

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