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174. I Have a Degree – Why Can’t I Find a Job?

Andrew felt like he was on top of the world when he finished his Master’s degree in History. He had excellent grades, experience teaching, and a willingness to explore new fields.

But as he submitted resumes and job applications, he noticed a pattern. Either he didn’t hear back from the employer, or they turned him down due to his lack of experience.

“It’s this cart and horse or chicken and egg thing where you can’t get a job because you don’t have the experience, but you can’t get experience because no one will give you a job,” he lamented.

Andrew’s job search stretched on for month after month, and he realized he had a problem.

“I didn’t know how to articulate my skills,” he said. “I really had trouble figuring out what was transferrable, what was not. And I had a lot of misconceptions about the face value of an advanced degree, and I was emphasizing all the wrong things”

That’s when he turned his attention to the study and practice of finding a job.

What I Wish I Knew

This week, we talk with Andrew Webb, a Master’s graduate and creator of employedhistorian.com where he helps humanities students in their own career development.

We begin our discussion with a focus on his article titled “I have a master’s degree and can’t find a job!”

In it, Andrew begins by sharing that he was not alone in his months-long job search. He cites a Consumer Affairs article that says recent grads take an average of 7.4 months to find a job – nearly double the 4 months an established professional takes.

But Andrew emphasizes that this is not due to a lack of skill for the recent grads – their talents and experience are extremely valuable. Instead, he says, it’s due to a limited professional network and an inability to translate their training into the language a hiring manager hopes to see.

“The skills are there,” he says. “You need to know how to articulate some of that in real, measurable terms.”

Andrew shares a wide variety of tips and tricks you can apply in your own job search, including:

  • How to leverage your existing professional network even if it’s friends and family.
  • How to write a resume that catches the attention of a screener.
  • Why you should create a professional portfolio website to showcase the quality of your work.
  • What employers ask for in a job description, versus what they actually want from an employee.
  • Why acting desperate or obsequious in an interview will hurt your chances of getting an offer.
  • How to track down the email address for a hiring manager so you can reach out directly.
  • How to find recruiters and have them work for you – for free!
  • and MUCH more

If you’re a Master’s or PhD grad struggling to find a job, you’ll want to check out EmployeedHistorian.com or follow Andrew on LinkedIn. You can also pick up his eBook: 7 Steps to Get Hired with a Humanities Degree – we promise it’s not just for humanities grads!

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