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Title: Creating an Employable Self: An Exploration of the Supply-Side of the Labor Market
Authors: McKeever, Margaret
Advisors: Zelizer, Viviana
Department: Sociology
Class Year: 2013
Abstract: What determines job market success among similarly qualified individuals? Understanding the job search as what Lauren Rivera calls a “process of cultural matching,” my research explores how Princeton undergraduates create marketable identities with the goal of landing a job offer. I conducted twenty semi-structured interviews with Princeton undergraduates seeking employment at New York law, consulting and banking firms and analyzed the data with a constructionist grounded theory approach. Contingent on their GPA, interviewees oriented their employable selves to convey a “humanized intellectual” or a “highly committed non-academic”. While high GPA individuals (3.5 to 4.0) worked to prevent being perceived as “robotic”, middle GPA individuals (3.0 to 3.5) abandoned the idea of “looking perfect” and, instead, emphasized extracurriculars to demonstrate their qualifications. My findings indicate important gender differences in how individuals construct their employable selves. Further research centered on the link between self-­marketing and job search success will potentially uncover additional perpetuators of labor market inequality.
Extent: 116 pages
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Sociology, 1954-2020

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