Hope remains for job-seeking college grads
September 15, 2011 Leave a comment
by Victoria Sullivan
Once upon a time, college students were a shoo-in for the job of their choice. Over the past 20 years, however, the college graduate’s life has become harder and harder as opportunities for employment plummet. The decline of the national economy has caused layoffs and cutbacks in nearly every field of expertise and forced students to hold off their plans for a permanent career.
In a recent New York Times article, this age group was dubbed “Generation Limbo”: a group of individuals who are stuck in part-time jobs while they wait out the economic storm. Unfortunately, Transylvania has not remained unaffected. But there are some opportunities for students wrestling with the question “What comes next?”
First and foremost, students can do a number of things to appear more appealing to the competitive job market. Susan Rayer, Transy’s director of career development, and Michael Cronk, assistant director, urge students to plan ahead while they are still in school.
They cited the “four-step plan,” which consists of “effective documentation of skills and experience, research into possible job opportunities, networking and the actual job search itself.”
Rayer in particular emphasized the importance of networking, saying that the competition in the job market is so high that making connections is a sure-fire way to dramatically increase one’s chances of being noticed by a potential employer.
Another useful way to improve your chances of employment is to explore internship opportunities, many of which are listed on Inside Transy or provided by the Career Development Center, located in the basement of the Mitchell Fine Arts Center.
Internships are a wonderful way to get noticed by potential employers as well as obtain job experience that applies to a wide variety of careers. Cronk and Rayer said that the office is making particular efforts to ensure that every student has the opportunity to pursue an internship.
In general, Cronk and Rayer advised that all students, whether graduates or currently enrolled, should take great pains to make themselves more marketable to employers.
“While professors help students academically,” said Rayer, “the Career Development Center helps students professionally.”
The Career Development Center also has a Facebook page that aims to keep students up-to-date on relevant articles and opportunities available to them.
If those techniques fail, it is important to remember that “waiting it out” is nothing to be ashamed of. Part-time jobs that do not apply to students’ majors can still be essential in the final job search. The time that graduates are not employed in their field can be used to hone their skills for the next job interview, which may very well be the one that lands them the job they desire.
Cronk emphasized the need to be employed, even if it means accepting a less-than-ideal position.
“Individuals who are not employed for over six months are usually not hired again,” said Cronk.
Tackling the job market can be a daunting task, but it does not have to be. Resources abound for students looking for employment, and with enough persistence and effort, their job search can be a success.