Employment Opinions

4 Reasons Why You Are A Young Unemployed Graduate

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Written by Faizan Patankar

Are you a young unemployed graduate or know someone who is? Or are you a graduate with a stop gap job and looking for the right opportunity? Do you want to know the reasons why you are a young unemployed graduate?

Well, OK. Here are some honest reasons why you are a young unemployed graduate. Oh, and I am no expert in this area, but having analysed different scenarios and outcomes, I have boiled down to 4 main reasons. This post is written to help graduates and students, not berate them.

1. No. Of Applicants Per Job Is Very High

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Yes, this is one of the main reasons. The Western world is in recession, more graduates than ever before are graduating. There are fewer jobs and more applicants. What can you do about it? Nothing.

You are a graduate, you shouldn’t take the blame for what people (apparently with more experience! and knowledge) than you messed up. It does not mean you shouldn’t try to get a job and lose the young unemployed graduate tag. But don’t allow any tom, dick or harry self proclaimed internet expert tell you it’s your mistake!

When rejections come in, they’re hard to take but you can read this post on how to get over job rejections.

2. Lack Of Relevant Work Experience

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It is generally accepted that one third of new graduates hired did an internship with that company. Around 75% of employed graduates have relevant work experience. So, look back, did you miss out on relevant work experience or internship?

A part-time job is good, but practically it is tough to explain or sell skills gained through being a library patrol person to an interviewer for a mechanical engineering job. I know we say that any part time job is good, it absolutely IS, but in these times you need to be better than good.

Try to get some work experience, we’ve started listing some vacancies on our student and graduate job site careergeekjobs.com . Remember, experience matters. It is a vital step in your journey from a young unemployed graduate to an employed one.

3. You Did Not Get Your CV Reviewed

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Call me daft, but I’ve looked at numbers. I’ve observed grads, I’ve observed myself! You, me and other graduates think we’ve got a good CV, when we write one.

before and after cv review

I improved my success rate after CV review

It is good for us. But your Careers Service advisers see 100’s of CV’s, they’ve got the experience behind them. They know what sells and what doesn’t. So, go to your careers service and get your CV reviewed.

I had mistakes on my CV, when I first asked my Careers Service to review it, no wonder I never got interviews. The graph is from an old post of mine, when I was writing for my university careers service.

Get your CV reviewed by a careers adviser and if not happy, knock on their doors again. It’s better to trouble them and get the best results than you being knocked down and being a young unemployed graduate.

4. Lack of Knowledge of Applicant Tracking System

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This was one of the single most incremental factors on my success of reaching the later stages of graduate applications.

I am still surprised how few careers advisers and experts really explain this system to students and graduates. As an engineer, there is nothing better than cracking a system!

Applicant Tracking Systems are like robots who scan your CV’s and applications and rate you, if you don’t match the required criteria or attain the required score, it’s goodbye to your application, even before it is touched by a human being!

I am going to explain this system in my next post, because it is very interesting and needs proper explanation. Anyway, lack of knowledge about how ATS works is one of the reasons why you are a young unemployed graduate.

Young Unemployed Graduate

So, these are the fundamental reasons why you are a young unemployed graduate. Look, I didn’t write this post to tell you how rubbish you are, but genuinely, sometimes it’s good to put things in perspective.

If you are clear on these 4 points and still unemployed, then I am sure some expert somewhere will sell you a billion dollar e-book on how to be employed. I don’t do that, but I can offer you my post on Graduate and Unemployed? Try these to boost your calibre. 

Feel free to tell me your comments and if there are any more reasons, let me know!  If you can share this post so it reaches out to more graduates, that would be awesome!

About the author

Faizan Patankar

I started Career Geek Blog in 2011 to share my experience in job-hunting. I now focus on careers industry and blogging is just a tool to share that info. Love hacking careers. During the day I focus on my hobby - Engineering.


  • I think this article is great. Sometimes thinking that your graduate status will automatically get you a job can be a negative mentality.

    In my opinion the best way to actually find a job that is suited to you is to believe in yourself, I know it sounds cliché, but the likely hood of the person who gets the job, is very unlikely to have all the skills at the start. A fundamental difference is knowing that you are willing to learn and will be an asset. Remember its a two way process, a job should benefit your development too.

    Show them you can stand on your own two feet, that you enjoy being challenged and that you are motivated. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the job role, how you will fit in, where you can go with it.

    Just a few tips I thought might be useful.


  • Great post Faizan. As a university Careers Adviser I see quite a few students who don’t do these key things. Worth adding to the list is not considering smaller companies/companies they haven’t heard of. Some aim for the big companies only (and why shouldn’t they if that’s what they aspire to), but we find lots of smaller companies get far fewer applicants. Graduates would face less competition and these are still great jobs – so don’t be blinkered!
    Best wishes