College Grads Get Ready for Work

As college graduation approaches, we asked "Good Morning America" viewers to submit their career-related questions to us. In all the entries we received, there was a general theme of worry: worry about how to find fulfillment at work, how to land a job and how to make ends meet. ABC News workplace contributor Tory Johnson provides some expert advice on tackling those fears and launching great careers.

Question: I graduated in May 2004 and have been working for a year and half now. I should be happy that I have a well-paying job and great benefits, but after graduating with a B.A. in economics, I'm still not sure what I want to do with my life. I'm not happy with my current position, and I feel that the next step would be to go to graduate school. What is the next step?

Tory Johnson: While it's perfectly acceptable to want to pursue additional education, it's unclear why you believe going to graduate school would make you happier with your career options. How would an additional degree provide you with more satisfaction?

If you're not content with your current position, there are other options to consider. For starters, you can switch jobs! Try talking to your alumni relations office to find out what types of employers are hiring economics majors from your college. Ask them to connect you with former students who graduated your year and previous years with the same degree. Find out what they're doing professionally and see if it sparks new ideas about potential paths for you to pursue. That type of networking and exploration is wise before deciding to hit the books again.

Question: I graduated last May from graduate school, and since that time I have struggled to find a job suitable for me. I currently live in Chicago, but I am looking for an administrative/clerical position in Atlanta or Columbus, Ga.

I'm between a rock and a hard place -- some employers see my MBA on the resume and assume I should be looking for management jobs, which I've tried to do. However, when employers get down to my primarily administrative/customer service background, they realize that management jobs may not be the best option for me (as I don't have hands-on working experience in that area). I have the training from my MBA, but it doesn't seem to replace work experience.

As a result, I'm trying to pursue jobs for which I do have hands-on work experience -- administrative/clerical jobs. Before I graduated with my MBA, I thought I wouldn't have too much trouble finding a suitable job. In fact, I thought graduates like myself would be in demand. So, it's been a tough postgrad life for me.

Tory Johnson:After earning an MBA, chances are you won't be happy working in a clerical position and it will be difficult convincing an employer to hire you for such.

Since you are trying to relocate, think about national employers, unless you're able to make several visits to your desired city to build contacts and schedule interviews.

I suggest looking at management training programs where your education and experience would be put to great use. For example, Enterprise Rent-A-Car has an exceptional program -- one of the best in the country -- that would provide you with exposure to all aspects of the business and offer you opportunities for advancement based on your interests and expertise. Major retailers have great training programs as well, so consider looking at them too.

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