Beat Underemployment

by Kerriann Thompson


It’s safe to say that the first biggest accomplishment students look forward to after graduation is landing the “job.” But the reality right now is that the Class of 2013 will face an extremely difficult job market. We’ve spent all this time getting a degree, so that we can get a job we wouldn’t have been able to obtain without an education.


Between fewer jobs, lower budgets for companies and more competition, the job hunt won’t be a piece of cake. Projections for the recent and future 2013 graduates say they will face underemployment. According to Investopedia, Labor that falls under the underemployment classification includes those workers that are highly skilled but working in low paying jobs, workers that are highly skilled but work in low skill jobs and part-time workers that would prefer to be full-time. This is different from unemployment in that the individual is working but isn’t working at their full capability.


As I prepare to graduate in December, I’m on the same boat as many of you and know the apprehension and concerns that may be setting it. I returned to college to complete my degree after working in the hospitality industry for six years after high school. So the fear of being underemployed is very real for me. But I know with my experience and education at UCF, I’m in a prime position to be hired.


Some students graduate and immediately believe the job will fall on their lap, but very rarely is that the case. Preparation is important and these are factors to take into account as you start the job search:


  • Realities of searching for a job
  • Best and worst cities for recent graduates (Maybe you’ll move to get the job)
  • High-paying entry-level jobs for graduates in 2013
  • Deciding between staying local or relocating for a position


For those of you considering staying local after graduation don’t count out the possibility of finding a job right where you live. Nathan Ferrer, a recent graduate of UCF, earned his Bachelor of Design in Architecture degree in May. Before graduation he began working as a designer at Nassal Company, a leader in the fabrication and installation of immersive themed environments. Nathan took a proactive approach and began his job search months before graduation. “The job market for architectural/design jobs is very tough and competitive due to the decrease in construction in the past years. Though it’s picking up, it’s really hard to land a job in the industry if you are not well connected,” Nathan said.


If you aren’t planning on completing an internship in college, Nathan’s advice is important:


  • Try to become well connected via networking opportunities.
  • Become members/volunteers in local organizations for your respective field/industry
  • Searching for the right job is a job within itself.
  • Dedicate sufficient time to staying up to date with all job searching avenues.
  • Do not be discouraged if you do not land a job right away. Use the non-hire interview experiences to help you perfect your interview skills.


Research the companies you are applying for that way you know you are making appropriate decisions with regards to place of employment and what they have to offer you.


Then there are graduates on the opposite spectrum who aren’t opposed to having to move and even embrace the possibility of relocating for a job. Kirsten Pitroff, another recent graduate of UCF, earned her Bachelor of Arts- Interpersonal Organizational Communication degree in May. She’s recently moved to Southeastern Colorado with a job as an affiliate volunteer coordinator for Susan G. Komen, a foundation dedicated to education and research about causes, treatment, and the search for a cure.


As a previous intern for the organization Kirsten wanted to continue to work with them after moving from Orlando to Colorado.  “I wrote several emails expressing my interest with volunteering, interning or being employed with the organization,” Kirsten said.  After several attempts Kirsten received a response that no jobs were available, but they’d keep her in mind. And it paid off because two weeks later she received notice about a position. The persistence and diligence she showed helped her earn the position. If you have to show up to their office again and again to emphasize your interest, so be it.


Kirsten’s advice for recent graduates and soon-to-be graduates who haven’t secured a job yet:


  • Be hungry. Do your research on the companies you are applying for and on the leading tips, dos & don’ts for filling out job applications, interviewing, etc.
  • Read employee reviews of the companies so you get an idea of what they are REALLY looking for.
  • Intern for free or volunteer to get your foot in the door of a company/job you want to work for. You really have to want (or pretend to want) every job you apply for and continually keep in touch, don’t wait on the potential employer.
  • Be patient, it will be a long process, I got a job fairly quickly after graduation because the cards fell just right, but for most it doesn’t.
  • If your resume contains statistics (which it should) be prepared to answer EXACTLY how you came to that number. Some potential employers will ask! (I say this from experience.)
  • Be proactive and if there is any advice I can give:  ALWAYS SEND A HANDWRITTEN THANK YOU NOTE POST INTERVIEW!!


A recent report from ranked (in no particular order) what they consider the top 10 cities for 2013 graduates based on unemployment rate, wages, and cost of living. Below are the cities including Orlando and their current unemployment rate as of May. With lower unemployment rates they may be cities for consideration after graduation.


  • Washington D.C.: Unemployment rate 5.2%;
  • Seattle, Washington: Unemployment 6.7%;
  • Atlanta, Georgia: Unemployment rate: 8.4%
  • Denver, Colorado: Unemployment rate: 7.4%
  • Boston, Massachusetts: Unemployment rate: 5.9%
  • Dallas, Texas: Unemployment rate: 5.9%
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota: Unemployment rate: 5.1%
  • Houston, Texas: Unemployment t rate: 6%
  • St. Louis, Missouri: Unemployment rate: 7%
  • Raleigh, North Carolina: Unemployment rate:  7.5%
  • Orlando: Unemployment rate 7.2%


Now that you know the areas and the tips to help you land the job you probably want to know what some of the jobs are that may apply to your degree. By utilizing the 2012 – 2013 Occupational Outlook Handbook the following I’ve put together a list of different jobs for various degrees and their median annual salary as of 2010 for bachelors degree:


  • Industrial Designers – $58,230
  • Graphic Designers – $43,500
  • Management Analyst – $78,160
  • Budget Analysts –$68,200
  • Athletic Trainers –$41,600
  • Dietitians and Nutritionists –$53,250
  • Media and Communication Occupations
  • Editors – $51,470
  • Interpreters and Translators – $43,000
  • Education & Library Occupations
  • Career and technical education teachers – $46,530
  • Archivists  –  $45,200
  • Computer System Analysts – $77,740
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators – $69,160
  • Biological Technicians – $39,020
  • Urban and Regional Planners – $63,040
  • Actuaries – $87,650
  • Market Research Analysts – $60,570


If you’re not finding a job listed above that fits your degree or that interests you check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook at http://How This Year’s Graduating Class Will Beat Underemployment


As I prepare to graduate with a degree in advertising and public relations, I’ve narrowed down the cities I would consider living in if I had to relocate. On a bi-weekly basis I check for jobs available in those cities so I can know which ones I’d qualify for today and which jobs I would qualify for after graduation. Also, I continue to find ways to make myself more marketable and to help this goal I’ll be starting my next internship this fall.


For those of you who still have some time before you graduate, don’t procrastinate. As UCF Knights we can’t let the job market projections deter us from getting the job we went to school for.


We can all succeed.