Study: Most graduates’ first jobs won’t require degrees

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- College graduates from the Piedmont said they know a tough job market may mean settling for a job making less money and requiring less skill than their degree suggests they are capable of.

A recent study published in The New York Times, using federal data put together by The Associated Press, suggests that 50 percent of 2012 college graduates will be jobless or underemployed.

"It is important for students to realize that your first job is not your last job," said Andy Chan, vice president of personal and career development at Wake Forest University. Students there are just weeks away from graduation.

Chan said even though the job market is improving, students have to be creative, be more open-minded and network.

"You have to be careful to hold out for the ideal thing, because the ideal thing may not totally exist or be available right now, so it's sometimes good to just get in the game," Chan said.

The study suggests many graduates will become a waiters, waitresses, bartenders, retail clerks or receptionists before landing a job that matches their skill and degree.

"That's the economy we work in right now. You have to take whatever you can get, and I think its been a really hard realization for students," said Wake Forest Senior Matthew Simari.

Simari has a job lined up after graduation, and he knows that's rare nowadays.

"It's beyond feeling lucky to have a job. It's feeling lucky to have a job i am excited about," Simari said.

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