New College Grads Face Working World


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: As an English major graduating from a large, research-oriented university, I haven't been given any help on how to even look for a job in my field. I have experience in journalism, and I have been told I'm a talented writer, but I feel like there just aren't any entry-level jobs for people like me. I spent a semester in London instead of an internship and now I find myself unable to make any professional connections. I am not a marketable candidate for the type of jobs open to recent college graduates. What am I to do with a B.A. in English?

Tory Johnson: Instead of focusing on what you don't have (internship experience), focus on what you do bring to a potential employer (cultural savvy). English majors can do just about anything they set their sights on -- sales, marketing, writing, editing, teaching, human resources, event planning, research, project management and so much more.

Networking doesn't just come through internships. You can make valuable professional connections through family and friends, by joining professional associations and by connecting with other alumni. Ask your university to put you in touch with a few people who earned the same degree as you from the last five graduating classes. See what they're doing and what advice they might have for you. You'll no doubt be very surprised by the wide range of careers those people are now pursuing. Start looking at the glass half full, not so empty! Question: I am graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga., in June with a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design with a minor in painting. My question is, how long is the average amount of time between graduation and finding a job?

Currently, I am dealing with moving back to Indiana, trying to find a job and deciding where I should begin the next chapter of my life. My parents are concerned that I find a job in the near future, while I am more worried about making a rushed decision that ends up not being what I want.

During the first weeks back at home, do I find a local graphic design job in my hometown? Or do I work at a restaurant while looking for another, full-time job? The other side of this is, I don't know how different a career in the arts is compared to one in another field. Should I be more picky in finding a job? Should it take me longer to find a place that needs my creative outlook?

Tory Johnson: The process of discovering if a particular opportunity is the right one for you requires getting in there and testing the waters. You'll never know if the position or employer are perfect for you until you're in the trenches. This is especially true in the early stages of your career when you have minimal perspective on working in your field.

Instead of focusing on finding the ideal job, the aim should be to jump in with an opportunity in your industry. Once you've gotten some experience under your belt, you'll be able to define what the "perfect" job might look like -- and then set a course in motion to find it.

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