An Accenture study found that 41 percent of college grads feel they are over qualified for the positions they are in.
This is OK! What recent grads have to realize is that they probably won't land the job of their dreams after their first -- or even third -- interview after graduation. The phrase "in your 20s you churn, 30s burn, 40s earn" is so true. In your 20s, you are still figuring out what you want to do. You are developing as a professional and building your skill set. There is value in this!
Grads have to be OK with taking a job that may not have anything to do with their career track. They need to be willing to accept a position outside of their skill set or desired industry... they need to be willing to start at a lower salary and invest their time to better the company. These opportunities provide chances to network and make the individuals better equipped to land the job they really want.
Jobs are out there, you just have to look and keep your expectations realistic. Too often, recent grads become greedy and attempt to land the job of their dreams after their first -- or even third -- interview they have after graduation. Sure you'll hear the stories of it happening, but that's not typically the case.
Recent grads should consider:
Targeting internships. Even in this market, many companies are offering summer internships. Do research to understand which companies are a best fit to work for. Remember to remain open to companies and industries outside the idea.
Temporary-to-permanent employment. With the economy still in flux, companies are opting to hire new employees on a temporary-to-permanent basis instead of diving right in to direct hire... and there are many benefits to that! Treat temp employment like a test drive. If you don't like the position, you can end the assignment and search for other opportunities. If you love it and work hard, there may be a job offer at the end. It's also a chance to increase knowledge and learn another line of business, acquire a new set of skills or absorb information that could be useful in the future.
Further training: While you may take an immediate position that doesn't exactly fit the description of your aspired position... why not get training in the meantime to make you better qualified for the title you're seeking. Sure, more classes/school may be the last thing you're thinking about, but if it's going to help get you to where you want to be. Why not? Plus, the downtime while your job hunting this summer might be the most practical time to tackle it.
Don't treat it like "just another job." Sure, the job may not be what you want as a long-term career; however, the contacts you meet now will prove valuable partners in the future. Treat every interview, every interaction with employers and every hour of your work day as you would your ideal job.