I was recently asked to respond to the following inquiry. My response here is also posted on the Association of American Geographer’s (AAG) website under their Jobs and Careers FAQ
I have heard that the field of geography is growing, especially in the area of GIS. I graduated with a degree in geography a couple of years ago, but I cannot seem to find a job. It seems like there are hundreds of applicants for each position, and no one will give me a chance. Are there too many geographers out there or not enough employers who understand what geographers can do for them?
I think there are a few things going on here:
(1) it’s a tough environment for relatively new graduates to find work. I think this is true across most fields of study.
(2) GIS technologies and GIS careers are constantly evolving and the technology you learned as an undergrad is almost certainly well behind the curve now. You have to keep up with the latest and greatest.
(3) Perhaps most importantly, you need to define a career path that you want to follow for at least a few years. Unfortunately, geography departments don’t really provide much guidance on careers in the private sector (wouldn’t a GIS + MBA skill set be nice?) and just looking for a GIS job isn’t really focused enough.