The struggle of being overeducated and underemployed

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Meet Mia Crawford. Just like a lot of us, she gets up, gets in her car and goes to work. Crawford is an administrative assistant at Southern University, but she did not go to school for this.

“My first degree is a Bachelor’s in history, and my second degree is a Master’s in social sciences with a concentration in history,” explained Crawford.

Right now, Crawford is working on her Ph.D. in public policy at Southern, but with a $30,000 salary, she said it is a challenge.

“That is the highest salary I’ve had my entire life,” said Crawford. “You’re at the point where you’re going to have to decide, am I going to take this job, and take this position, even though it doesn’t pay well? Or I’m just going to say ‘Sorry, I’m going to have to decline this position.’ But you have to realize, being an adult, you have bills. You can’t just pass up the opportunity.”

Crawford said she has applied to hundreds of jobs, using websites like Monster, Indeed, and Careerbuilder, but the response…

“‘I’m sorry you’re overqualified’ or ‘I’m sorry that you don’t really fit what we’re looking for,'” said Crawford. “It’s sad because I know that I fit what they’re looking for.”

Now, she wants to look out of state for better opportunities.

“I love Louisiana. I don’t want to leave, but if an opportunity is presented to me, I’m going to leave this state,” said Crawford.

Bryan Moore of the Louisiana Workforce Commission said he works with many people going through the same thing, being overeducated and underemployed. Moore said networking is key.

“That’s why I think it’s important for people to attend business association meetings, any of the public events that are out there in the industry in which they’re interested in and get to know certain people. We often say, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, but it’s also who knows you,” said Moore, the director of the Office of Workforce Development.

So, how do you get the job you want?

“For those who have degrees and can’t find jobs in their fields, no matter how hard they try, I would say, be open, be flexible to finding other opportunities, so you can get your foot in the door, and then you could demonstrate to your employers that you can prove yourself,” said Moore. “When you can make that resume come to life by being able to be that employee, so you can sort of grow and develop, and ultimately land the careers you’ve been seeking.”

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has a tool on its website called STAR Jobs. It helps link people with careers they are interested in. To check it out, just head to the link below:

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