Job experience: the controversial issue for a young college graduate

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“Searching for a job while you are still a student is not as easy as it seems at first sight”: this was my thought after my first interview. It was 3 months ago when I started looking for a job related to my domain of studies, especially accounting. I wanted to start my career while I am still a student, for two main reasons: I desire to be independent even if my parents support me and simultaneously I want to “test” my qualifications and see if I am appropriate for the field of accounting and if I really like this field far from books and university.

So, I started to send resumes to employers who looked for young people who wanted to be occupied to this domain. To be honest, I preferred positions that mentioned job experience as desired not mandatory. Because as a matter of fact I haven’t worked again and even if I have a good academic profile, I haven’t developed skills of working under real circumstances. What discouraged me was that when I met up these employers, they mentioned experience as the “must have”. Besides that they required skills such as knowing how to work on an organized ERP, something that I have never seen during my studies (to be specific, until this moment). Confused and discouraged from these interviews, I decided to look for a job unrelated to accounting in order to succeed in my first goal, being independent and having my own money. The situation was worse: employers don’t want a girl who doesn’t know how to serve a coffee or promote a product or sell garments. Not only they don’t want such a girl, but they aren’t willing to give her a chance.

During these interviews, I heard a phrase that I still remember: “knowledge equals to experience”. I disagreed when I heard it and I am under the impression that I still disagree. Knowledge is the driving force behind everything. Experience means adaption to work environment and start being productive. I really like the field of my studies, I have passed all of my exams but the most important I learned such a lot of things in theoretical base. However, even if I am good at my studies, I am not experienced. I cannot call myself as an “accountant”, even if I have knowledge of the field. So, in my mind, knowledge is far from experience.

After my experience of searching a job while I’m still a student I may have the ability to propose some ideas, as a solution to this problem. We may not be able to change employer’s minds and I have an excuse for their behavior: training a young person is a waste of time and possibly a waste of money. And we all know that these two factors, time and money, are crucial for big companies and small businesses too.

So, I think that we should look for the root of the problem: universities and the structure of studies. In fields such as accounting we need practical knowledge. More laboratory lessons are needed, in order to see how we can apply what we have learned from books. Moreover, universities should establish more internship programs. Cooperation with big companies such as Wind, Vodafone, TITAN is a good start. Students with a good academic profile who want to start their career during student life would be welcomed to such programs. However, I think that start-up businesses may be a more interesting chance for us, because we see the development of a business plan from the beginning. Furthermore, internship chances through the program Erasmus should be enhanced because working in a foreign country even if you have never worked again is a real challenge and not only job skills will be developed, but also your personal qualities will be cultivated.

To sum up, I think that finding a job while you are still a student and you have no experience is a real trouble for young people. Moreover, bear in mind that the economic situation forces many students to search for a job for reasons of survival. May employers low their standards and give as a chance because more and more young students have no support from their family? Although I understand our need and desire of working, it would be fair to be in employers’ side. We are young, talented, with passion for what we do but we may not convince for our qualifications due to the lack of working under pressure and real circumstances. So, the solution may be characterized as a “fair compromise” for both sides, if that’s possible. But as young people we should always remember that “stubborn hearts will find the road”. That’s my motto!

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