Beating the odds
Youth unemployment rates remain high
Although the national unemployment rate has been slowly decreasing and now stands at 7.3 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, youth unemployment is another story.
A statement released by Generation Opportunity, a national organization committed to informing
individuals about government activities that can affect their future opportunities, stated the
unemployment rate for youth—ages 18-28—was at 16.3 percent for August 2013.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics had similar figures, with the unemployment rate for youth ages 18-24
at 16.3 percent in July 2013, which is up from July 2008 when youth unemployment was at 14
“Unemployment numbers for youth since 2008 have been steadily the highest numbers since after
World War II,” David Pasch, a staff member at GO, said in the release.
These figures are enough to worry any student or recent graduate heading into the work force.
Although the percentage of unemployed youth has increased, the Career Center at Grand Valley State
University offers services to help students make themselves more marketable in order to get the jobs
they want. Stephanie Dombrowski, an adviser at GVSU’s Career Center, said most students don’t know
how to market themselves well enough to get hired.
“It’s not always about not having the skills,” Dombrowski said. “It’s more about not being able to
She also added that most students who come in to ask her for help have been sending the same
generic resume to all of the jobs they apply for, but it’s more important to cater a resume to the wants
of the employer.
One of the main focuses of the Career Center is getting students to start thinking more like the
employer instead of the resume writer.
Most of Dombrowski’s clients are recent graduates or second-semester seniors, but it’s better to start
career planning before that. The advisers in the Career Center are available to assist students in every
stage of the career planning process, starting with choosing a major.
“It starts from day one,” she said.
Another important part of job searching is networking. Dombrowski advises students to create an
online profile on a career networking website such as LinkedIn that can help students with networking
opportunities they might not have even known about.
“Seventy percent of all jobs are filled through networking,” Dombrowski said, and only a very small
percentage of jobs are filled through resumes being sent in without the applicant having some
connection to the employer.
The Career Center also hosts many different networking events throughout the year.
For a schedule of the events, visit the Career Center in the Student Services building or go to the
website at www.gvsu.edu/careers.