Student Life

ASK THE EXPERT: What are some of today’s biggest obstacles for college students?

For many college students today preparing themselves for the working world, it seems incredibly bleak. In general, unemployment rates are high (around 8.3% according to the U.S. Department of Labor), but this also extends to students. According to a recent Drexel University study, recent bachelor’s degree holders saw an increase in unemployment and an increase in underemployment, despite an overall increase in jobs. With such a discouraging job market, it’s not surprising that approximately 20% of graduates decide to continue on with their education.

However, according to David Pinkley, founder of The Resume Sage, the economy and unemployment aren’t the only obstacles recent college grads have to overcome. For Pinkley, another one of the greatest obstacles students have is the competition they face with more experienced individuals who are also looking for employment. These individuals often have extensive knowledge of the professional world, with a network that extends well beyond that of a recent college grad. According to Pinkley, “unless you’re doing cutting edge research, all you have is your attitude.” Students are especially at a disadvantage when it comes down to experience in a specific industry, even with the smaller price tag they command.

Another major obstacle Pinkley identifies is the media coverage detailing the decline in college graduate employment. Pinkley believes students are greatly impacted by reading these stories, obviously affecting their psyche and their hope for finding a job once they do graduate.

“You need to move your own mind from the fear that you won’t find work to the hope that you will,” says Pinkley. For him, this is really the only way that students can overcome these types of obstacles. It all really starts with enthusiasm, a bright attitude, and a lust for knowledge to be a student’s driving force when they are looking for a job, because as Pinkley explains, “ . . . all you have is your attitude.”


Fogg, Neeta, and Paul Harrington. “The Employment and Mal-Employment Situation for Recent College Graduates: An Update.” Center for Labor Markets and Policy. Drexel University, Jun 2012. Web. 21 Aug 2012.

“Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey.” Center for Labor Markets and Policy. United States Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 21 Aug 2012.

Stone, Charley, Carl Van Horn, and Cliff Zukin. “Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession.” John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Rutgers University, May 2012. Web. 21 Aug 2012. <>.

Pinkley, David. Telephone Interview. 20 Aug 2012.


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