Going to college means you’re going to land a high-paying job and make lot of money, right? That is not the case in today’s world. A fair amount of college graduates are settling for minimum wage or low paying jobs. Obtaining a high-paying job right out of college is becoming a thing of the past. With the influx of college graduates, and decrease in quality jobs, college graduates are settling for all sorts of low-paying jobs, including positions that pay minimum wage.

There are a total of 260,000 college graduates working as minimum wage workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics from data compiled from 2013. While that number has decreased a total of 27,000 from 2012, it is still an alarmingly high number of workers.

People with college degrees still make more than those with lesser degrees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2013 earned a median weekly pay of $1,108. A high school graduate earned a media wage of $651 on a weekly basis — a difference of $457 a week, or $1,828 a month with that of the college grad. The unemployment rate is also significantly higher for a person with a high school diploma, seven percent — three percent more than those who graduated college.

Student loan debt are hurting college graduates more than anything

The average student loan debt for college graduates is just under $30,000, and on the rise. Graduates have rent, food, other bills, and the general cost of living to worry about, on top of student loans. Living off minimum wage is impossible. Most can barely afford to pay their minimum payment that is due for student loans every month.

Tips to avoid settling for a low paying job as a college graduate

To maximize your potential to land a job in the field of your choosing, there are a few steps you can take both during and after college.

  • Gain experience in your field through an internship — Working a summer internship is the perfect way to gain practical experience in the field you are studying. It is true many internships are unpaid, but some do offer stipends once completed. An internship can even lead to full-time work once you obtain your degree.
  • Get the best grades possible — Some employers prefer to hire employees with high grade point averages. Contrary to popular belief, your grades can matter with certain companies that you apply for.
  • Network with classmates in your field — Networking is a powerful skill to have at your side with any field you get into. Talk to your classmates and add them to your network. You should especially network with classmates who are going to graduate before you.
  • Consider relocating — Conduct your fair share of research to determine hot market locations for your target job. You may have to move away for a few years to start a new career.

Pick up a second skill

Many college graduates are going to back to school or completing various certifications to open their job prospects until they can work in their field of choice.

Secondary professions such as medical transcribers, truck drivers, office assistants, real estate agents, and tutors are additional career opportunities that require anywhere from a few months to less than two years of training. It’s a smart idea for anyone to pick up more than one skill to have another career to fall back on.

Related Articles
  1. Credit & Loans

    Explaining Equated Monthly Installments

    An equated monthly installment is a fixed payment a borrower makes to a lender on the same date of each month.
  2. Personal Finance

    Money Matters on Campus: Attitudes & Aptitudes

    Financial trends among college students are a cause for concern, prompting a renewed emphasis on financial instruction.
  3. Professionals

    How to Get Boomers & Millennials To Work Together

    Baby boomers and millennials don't often see eye to eye, but getting these two generations to play nice is important for any company.
  4. Personal Finance

    Insider's Guide To The Top U.S. Business Schools

    The best business school for you depends on your skills, career goals and interests. We help future MBA's make a more informed choice.
  5. Budgeting

    Top 10 Ways College Students Can Save Money

    College costs are soaring, but fortunately, there are several ways for college students to save money - and some are quite painless.
  6. Personal Finance

    10 Habits of Successful People

    10 of the most-often cited habits of people who have enjoyed success in business and in life.
  7. Budgeting

    Best 5 Money-Saving Tips to Get out of Debt

    Understand the different types of debt and the reasons why people get into debt. Learn about five tips to follow to get out of debt.
  8. Savings

    5 Ways To Be Irreplaceable At Work

    Companies most value five certain behaviors, and the employees who exhibit them establish themselves as essential to an organization.
  9. Economics

    What Does a Relationship Manager Do?

    A firm’s relationship manager works to maintain positive relationships with its customers and partner firms.
  10. Credit & Loans

    Why Ignoring Your 529 Plan Could Cost You Big

    Saving for your kids' college tuition can be difficult. Here's how a 529 plan can help and how you, too, can help your 529 plan.
  1. Does a financial advisor need an MBA?

    Obtaining a license as a financial adviser does not require an Master's of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The Certified ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Student loans, federal and private: what's the difference?

    The cost of a college education now rivals many home prices, making student loans a huge debt that many young people face ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can my IRA be used for college tuition?

    You can use your IRA to pay for college tuition even before you reach retirement age. In fact, your retirement savings can ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How can an investment banker switch to a career in corporate finance?

    It's pretty easy for an investment banker to switch to a career in corporate finance. The career skills are easily transferable, ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the long-term effects of delinquent accounts?

    Delinquency occurs when borrowers fail to make payments on their loans. All loan borrowers should do their best to avoid ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are the differences between delinquency and default?

    Delinquency and default are loan terms that describe failure to make a required payment. A loan in delinquency occurs the ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  2. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  3. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  4. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  5. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  6. Cost Of Funds

    The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!