Workplace Rights

Weekly (4/16/13)

Topic of the Week  Young Adult

 Young Adult: 

  • Networking.
  • Plan B.
  • Volunteering.
  • Create work.

Young Adult: Job Hunting Strategies That Work

Only 54% of 18 to 24 year olds in the U.S. have a job right now, that's the lowest percentage of young people working since they started tracking it way back in 1948. People are starting to call these unemployed kids the "lost generation." Which reminds me of Fritz Gall, a self described failed inventor in Austria who opened the Museum of Nonsense. I've never visited it but it's already my favorite museum. According to the News of the Weird it features a "portable anonymizer" (a stick with black bar to obscure your identity), a transportable hat rack, a bristleless toothbrush (for people with no teeth), and a "portable hole" (think of what happened to the coyote in the old Road Runner cartoons).

I fear that too many of the unemployed youth's job hunting strategies would qualify for the Museum of Nonsense, it's not their fault, they're just doing the wrong stuff. To increase the odds that more young people will actually get hired, I turned to the smartest 20 year old that I know, my daughter Hallie. She's currently got three jobs, let me share with you her successful strategies.

Networking. Hallie had a job working for a big retailer, suffice it to say there was a gap between the number of hours that she needed and was getting. So she talked to friends who liked their jobs. She was introduced by one to the manager of another retail chain. Turns out they had someone leave and now my daughter gets exactly the number of hours that she wants and likes her new company a lot more.

Plan B. We all need a backup plan for bringing in money. Whether as a life guard, waiter or baby sitter, it always helps to have something that you can fall back on. Hallie is currently babysitting, and earning more than the current minimum wage for her efforts. It's helpful for anyone from 18 to 74 to have basic skills that you can lean on in a pinch to bring in scratch.

Volunteering. Okay, volunteering doesn't pay the bills. But it does fill out your resume, improve your self-esteem and potentially take your networking to the next level. My kid has made an important discovery in her volunteering that actually turned into a steady paycheck, I'll explain below.

Create work. My daughter's primary volunteer gig is with an organization on campus. She started to notice that the building was dirty much of the time. She talked to a few staffers only to discover that they were unhappy with the janitorial vendor. Yep, you guessed it, my daughter now has the janitorial contract for the building.

A recent study of CFO's, a.k.a. Chief Financial Officers, discovered that 91% prefer college graduates who worked during their college years compared to students who just focused on their studies. So if you want to avoid a long visit to the Museum of Nonsense, use the strategies above to get a job while you're in school.

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

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