First Person: Glimpse of the Unemployed, yet Hopeful, College Grad

Down But Not Out: Yahoo! Readers Share Their Stories of Unemployment and Job-Hunting

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First Person: Glimpse of the Unemployed, yet Hopeful, College Grad
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Denise Richardson

Five million Americans are among the long-term unemployed--those without a job for 27 weeks or longer--according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another 7.3 million are looking for work, while the unemployment rate sits at 7.9 percent. Numbers aside, individual stories illustrate how America is affected. To see how joblessness hits home, Yahoo News asked unemployed workers to share their job-hunting stories. Here's one.

FIRST PERSON | My name is Denise Richardson, a 22-year-old who graduated with a bachelor's of science degree from Colorado State University in May. Three weeks after graduation, I decided to move to Denver from Fort Collins, hoping there would be a larger job market and potential prospects in the clinical research or administration fields -- two areas I have work experience in. But with unemployment sitting at 7.9 percent (according to Bureau of Labor Statistics), and my lack of experience compared to others seeking employment in this tough economy, I am haplessly applying to jobs up to this day.

To paint a better picture, my search has resulted in more than 184 applications, 23 interviews and zero offers.

Yes, I keep track with a spreadsheet to document my lengthy and arduous job hunt. It has been six months since my search began, and because I have no income and no money left over from attending college as an out-of-state student, I have had no choice but to move in with my single grandmother until I can find full-time work. And though I was working as a full-time student, I did not make enough to qualify for unemployment benefits in Colorado. Now my day often begins waking up, making a quick cup of coffee, and sitting down at the desk in my grandma's basement for three or hours to peruse job sites like LinkedIn, Monster and Indeed.

At this moment, I consider myself lucky, but admittedly somewhat ashamed, to find work as a temp. I currently work through three separate temp agencies in the Denver area, and I am lucky to get a call once a week from any of the agencies asking to fill in as a receptionist for one day, to work as a mail clerk for one week, or to take inventory at Sears for a few hours. I make about $100 to $130 a week.

Unfortunately, it hasn't been enough to provide me with a steady paycheck that would allow me to rent a studio apartment. (I figure I would need about $2,000 a month to live on my own in Denver.) Then I wonder: How many people are in my position, but have children to provide for as well? How many people have been looking for more than six months?

Because I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to politics, all I can say is I hope the economy will improve during these next four years. I hope President Obama is reminded there are still millions of people searching for work each day.

And, for now, I will try to look on the bright side, as it gives me time to do fun local volunteer work, paint, and write -- just a few things I would not have time for were it not for being unemployed.

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