What If You’re Both Underqualified AND Overqualified?

The job market is tough. We all know it. We all hear about it on the news. Every. Single. Day. But, unemployment in general isn’t the major economic issue facing the job force in our country today.

No. Instead, we need to further investigate the underemployment rate, especially for that of college graduates. Recent college graduates are taking jobs outside of their field of expertise simply because it is a job. That is an example of underemployment. Not to mention, underemployment includes part-time jobs and companies that do not provide benefits to certain employees. To stay in their chosen field of study, college graduates are taking unpaid internships while balancing one or more part-time job to pay the bills.

I have never been one to be unemployed. I always manage to find a job, because I have held full-time positions since my first summer vacation in high school. I have extensive–if not ecclectic–experience in various fields. But, one thing is true, I’ve always managed to multi-task and make my pay checks work for me. I was paying my way through school, living in my first apartment in the city when the Great Recession hit in 2008. I was working at three part-time jobs, freelance writing, taking 18 credits in college & babysitting and assisting a professor at my school. It hurt, but I made it work.

Today, I’m facing a similar situation. I’m working three part-time jobs, going to grad school part-time & trying to break into my chosen field of work. I am strategically promoting myself on all social media outlets, updating my LinkedIn profile and writing a business-minded blog. I am doing everything right—but, something is still missing. I am still missing the mark and receiving rejection letters & e-mails from wonderful companies.

What am I doing wrong?

It may not be me. It is probably the state of the economy and the job market. The climate isn’t stable yet. The job market is 10 times more competitive and reaping 10% less in salary and wages than in pre-recession years. We’re fighting tooth-and-nail for positions we would’ve laughed at a decade ago. Oh, and education is creating a smoke-and-mirrors effect on resumes. Some employers expect a graduate degree, and other employees see MBA candidates as a dime-a-dozen today. It’s hard to decipher these employers prior to an interview, so it ultimately wastes a lot of time. But, to a point, these employers together are completely reflective of the assumption of education in America today. We’re in limbo today. Some think a graduate degree is required and isn’t that special, and others think a graduate degree is a seal of approval of the highest quality. America is of the same mind—College is the new high school and now everyone has a degree, but an MBA still is seen as difficult and a great accomplishment.

In the job market today, too much education can make you seem overqualified for a position. For example, I am an MBA candidate at the University of Pittsburgh. I am in my second year. And I have one marketing internship under my belt, equivalent to a little more than one semester. I am overqualified given the breadth of my education; however, I’m underqualified for certain positions I’d hope for this far into my education.

It’s a Cache 22. And many prospective employees are in the same boat Post-Recession Era. Perhaps my only way out of this mess is to invent the tactic to bridge this awkward stage in a graduate student’s career, and I can employ myself.

How many of you have a job, but still feel UNDERemployed? What’s your strategy of pushing the ceiling up a bit and moving up to your rightful seat?

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Back To School—Already?

Sadly, yes. Last week was my first full week of my second year in grad school. And yes, I finished my first year already! I couldn’t believe it either when I first realized it. I apologize for my words being so scattered, I am still trying to gather myself to be ready for this semester. I spent the majority of my three weeks on holiday break recovering from last semester, but thankfully, some of it was spent surrounded by friends and family. I have to be honest—I still haven’t fully recovered from last semester, and I’m really having some issues getting back into the swing of things with this new semester.

My first assignment is due in Business Law on Wednesday night. It wasn’t too difficult of an assignment, in that it’s a paper, and I love papers. However, I took both days of this entire weekend to relax and sleep mostly. Writing that 1-2 page response and strategy to a case settlement scenario just wasn’t tickling my fancy. I finally sat down and wrote more than the title and heading of the paper this morning. I got it out of the way in the first two hours of being awake, yet I did little else today.

Yesterday was reserved for errands. My boyfriend made gourmet grilled cheeses with proscuitto and peppadew peppers with soup (BOGO soups at Whole Foods from Friday!), and I pretended to study my Business Law textbook while watching re-runs of Law & Order. Of course, it was for purposes of achieving a reference point. Yes?

At this moment, I can feel my words starting to spin in this blog, so I’m going to try and keep it brief. This week will bring me a lot of work and stress, at both work and school. I will also be at the Gluten Free Expo at the Monroeville Convention Center on Saturday, hosting a table as a brand ambassador for Triumph Dining. (I love their Dining Cards!) Not to mention, I’m still waiting on my blood test results for Celiac Disease. I also have about four loads of laundry to do, a bathroom, kitchen and all floors in the house to clean. Needless to say, I am overwhelmed. I thrive in this environment, or at least I have done so in the past. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this week!

I truly hope that this week goes smoother than my first week back to the classroom went. I also hope my Business Law class is as exciting as I think it will be. I enjoy law studies, and I am still watching re-runs of Law & Order as we speak. To marry my excitement for this semester with a recovered body from last semester would be ideal.

Let’s all hope I can pull this off again—I got straight A’s on my finals last semester, so it won’t be easy!