Scott hit the books hard to get good grades during his four years at a prestigious university. He worked part-time during the school year and each summer handled two jobs, to keep student loans at a minimum. With graduation only a few weeks away, and three months of sending out resumes, Scott is likely to become one of the millions of jobless young adults.

In the U.S., only about half of those 18-24 years old (54%) are employed – according to a recent study by the PEW Research Center. In many countries, the jobless rate of this young adult generation is even greater. Michael Schuman’s article “The Jobless Generation” in Time Magazine is shocking. Schuman cites figures from the International Labor Organization revealing “75 million people ages 15-24 are unemployed globally – or 2 out of every 5 jobless – and there is little hope of significant improvement.”

The X Factor

There is a great opportunity hidden in this challenge. This same generation is strongly cause related. Landmark research like David Kinnaman’s You Lost Me shows that this generation wants to make a difference. Scott worked hard at school in order to make a living. Perhaps the hidden opportunity in the dismal job market is the chance to make an impact.

Advanced degrees promote more education, more information. Typical resumes include areas of study, grade point averages, and part-time employment histories. These academic and skill reports are important, but in an employer’s market of a tight economy, there is another factor. Call it the X Factor: Character. So you – like many – have invested in academics. You have a short history of part-time jobs. What are your values? What about your worldview? What is the depth of your attitude?

It’s called character formation. You went to school and prepared to make a living. What have you invested in your preparation to make a life? These are questions that the 20-something generation should be asking.

Nick spent two years at a university, got wrapped up in the party culture, and began delivering pizza to get out of debt. Then Nick made a character-building decision and joined a faith-based, 10-month boot-camp-type experience called SEND North America “ I’ve learned who I am, my strengths, and the importance of values,” he says. Those who knew Nick before saw he had untapped potential. The X Factor – the release of “character confidence” is obvious when you see him at the end of the ten-month SEND experience. “I don’t know what path my future will take,” he says, “but I’ll never be the same. Before, I didn’t feel I had a direction. Now I see my biggest challenge as the many choices I have.” Potential employers will spot the X Factor in Nick in the first 30 seconds. Character development – you can feel the difference. Those who have invested in character development will make a difference. It just may be what this world needs the most.