Why is it so difficult to find a graduation job

University graduate: That's how inhumanly young professionals are treated

I'm just getting up close and personal with what it means to apply for the first “real” job after graduation. Not that all the temporary jobs, internships and student jobs that you did in school and university weren't work. (Believe me, 14-hour shifts in the snack bar at the Toten Hosen concert are definitely real work, as are unpaid agency internships to accumulate the notorious practical experience).

But no, I mean the kind of job you're supposed to pay for health insurance, pension insurance, student loans and, well, adult life.

My conclusion after talking to friends who, after months of unsuccessful job search, are thinking about a career as a taxi driver for the first time, and after doing their own thorough research, is daunting. To illustrate the hurdles for young professionals, let's first take a look at our average graduates:

Internships, stay abroad, good performance

Leonie is in her mid-twenties and has just finished her master's degree in business administration with a focus on marketing. She has a degree of 2.0 and gained work experience in various companies during her studies, both in internships and as a working student. Through various part-time jobs in gastronomy and retail in between, Leonie has demonstrated the ability to work in a team and resilience.

Because Leonie noticed during her studies that employers would also like to see experience abroad, she did another internship at a large German company in Vietnam after completing her master's degree.

What reads in the package like the recruiter's wish list come true applies to a large number of young professionals with few deviations. Leonie's résumé is no exception. Companies and potential workers should somehow find their way together, right?

Classic full-time position for young professionals

Thought wrong. Even if you set the filters to “career entry” in the relevant job exchanges, you will quickly notice: That could be tight. Big names like Tschibo tend to receive 500 applications for one of the few positions that are explicitly aimed at young professionals.

Many of them are trainee positions aimed at the exceptional talents of this world. So trainees who will become managers at some point, or something. In view of the offer for normal career starters, there will probably not be much left to lead. For the remaining majority of young professionals, there are not many advertisements for a classic full-time position.

Jobs are not on the street

But let's stick with our average graduate. Since we young people have long been taught that jobs are not on the street (why do shrill, laughing HR managers always appear in my head with sentences like this, blaring “skills shortage” in my head?), Applications are cut out in piece. (Of course, each one is tailored to the company).

The result after 50 applications is poor.

A friend came up with an amazing 50 pieces in six weeks. Intermediate result:

  • 32 standard rejections by email
  • 6 phone calls in which it often turned out that the job advertisement had little to do with the job (by the way, a common phenomenon: in the conversation it turns out that "research" is synonymous with data entry for cold calls)
  • 2 online assessments: Mixture of psycho and IQ test, like in driving school, only anti-social, video interview with computer as interview partner (You can make it so easy for yourself, dear HR. Do you invite colleagues to take a look and eat chips?)
  • 4 invitations to a personal interview

The price is hot! Welcome to the interview

The word “job interview” actually sounds too positive, as if you already have the job. If you don't completely ruin the idea of ​​yourself, training and specialist knowledge have already convinced you in your application. But that's not the case, so the new German job interview probably fits very well with the puppet theater, which is becoming more and more popular.

If I'm not mistaken, the point is to find out if you go together. So from candidate to employer. What does the candidate have on offer and vice versa the company. Even if there are many fair HR managers who try to have a constructive and pleasant conversation, the reality in many other cases does not look like a textbook: Unprepared interlocutors who cannot answer any questions about the actual tasks in the coveted job are there just as unpleasant as the reference to a “very limited time frame” from the interviewer.

Internships are not work experience

My favorite statement in advance: “You have an interesting résumé, but actually we would like someone with work experience.” Most young professionals with all internships and working student jobs often already have 2 years of work experience, but unfortunately that is “not relevant”.

We would have preferred to do the better-paid part-time jobs instead of gaining practical experience for a minimum wage. A CV that is too adventurous is also a no-go. Then every smallest gap in the resume is dissected as in pathology. Any deviation from the "common thread" is acknowledged with sharp questions and comments. Why it didn't work out so well in the basic physics course at school (anyway a bad habit to ask for the Abitur certificate when presenting a university certificate).

Personal questions like at the bar

It continues with the "strengths and weaknesses", where I have always asked myself whether HR managers (want) to hear something other than the classic "I'm sometimes a little impatient".

Questions about direct private life that women particularly like to ask are as popular as they are inappropriate (keyword: desire to have children). In return, HR managers often react piqued to the harmless question about salary. One only talks about this when an applicant has qualified in the process. After you have been put through its paces, you sometimes only find out that the conditions are crap.

Complex application processes at the applicant's expense

After the personal interview, however, it is not done yet. The fun goes even further with larger companies: assessment centers. Role plays and group discussions in front of a jury are another stress test that becomes a problem, especially for introverted people.

There are also logic and knowledge tests, which often have nothing to do with the actual position. The procedure, which takes up to two days, is followed by waiting for an acceptance or rejection.

Conclusion: Finding your first real job is really difficult

Whether after a classic application process with a face-to-face interview or the complete madness of online assessment, telephone interview, job interview and assessment center: the road to your first real job is often long.

Even highly qualified people (not just humanities scholars) often need several months to finally hold an employment contract in hand. However, this is not infrequently limited in time or contains conditions that are far below what salary tables show in an industry comparison. The whole circus was really worth it!

Companies must finally create more jobs for young professionals

While looking for a job, many graduates end up in temporary jobs and precarious employment in order to at least remain insured. After years of independence, some move back to their parents out of necessity. Others slip into Hartz 4 and despair of it.

Also read: "Sorry, dear job applicants, you are lied to at every job interview"

And why? Because companies prefer to play Men in Black: “We want the best of the best of the best!” Instead of turning well-trained young professionals into innovative employees.
* In order to avoid conflicts of interest, the author writes under her pseudonym.