Job market appears slim for seniors

April Dulsky, Web Editor

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College seniors understand the risks and opportunities that come even before graduation day as they begin searching for employment in the current job market.

According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, unemployment averaged at 8.5 percent in December, while the national average for unemployment in 2011 hit 8.9 percent. This unemployment statistic is down from years past, but many feel the lingering impact is still causing the job market to suffer.

“I am not confident in the job market because the economy is in horrible shape and people are constantly being let go of their jobs, even ones who have been working at companies for close to thirty years,” said senior Gabrielle Gattuso.

According to the New York Times, in 2011 the number of people who received at least a bachelor’s degree and became employed increased while those hired with a high school diploma decreased dramatically. This New York Times study reveals that people need higher education in an unstable economy.

“I think having a degree is the only way to even get considered for a job now. Basically, a college degree has become the new high school degree,” said Michele Drago, senior.

But students are unsure if there will be any jobs to turn to, even after receiving their Bachelor’s degrees.

“I feel nervous about searching for a job especially being a student right out of school. I constantly am wondering if there are any job options out there or if it’s just a lost cause,” said Gattuso.

MU students are not alone when it comes to searching for employment. Directors from the Insalaco Center for Career Development (ICCD) explain they are available to aid those who seek their assistance and advice. Workshops and programs include resume and cover letter reviews, the Guaranteed Placement Program, study abroad advising, help with job searches, interview training, mock interviews, and more.

“We will actually bring professionals in from the real world and they will conduct a half hour interview of our students. A lot of students actually get nervous during that process,” said Carolyn Yencharis Corcoran, Assistant Director and Study Abroad Advisor. “Students are not required to come into our centers so students really have to take the initiative to come in.”

With many on the hunt for jobs, upcoming graduates feel the pressure to do more to ensure employment. Some are seeking advanced degrees.

“I don’t have anything set in stone, so to speak, for after I graduate, but I do plan on attending graduate school after graduation this May, which will hopefully help even more,” said senior Amber Gulla.

Another program that the ICCD offers is graduate school advising. This program gives prospective graduate students a chance to learn about the different entrance examinations and what to expect in graduate school.

“I don’t know if a lot of people know that we even have a testing center where students who are preparing for their GREs or MCATs can come in and take tests with us. We actually bring people in who administer these tests to come in and do prep courses with students,” said Corcoran.

Many feel anxiety and stress when looking for jobs that match both their chosen professions and experience levels. Some seniors have massive portfolios and internships, yet still feel the weight of uncertainty loom on their minds.

“I’m kind of scared to look for a job because even though I have completed nine relevant internships, I still am not completely confident that I’ll find something, which is sad,” said Drago.

Other students entering the job market believe that they are stuck within a catch-22, feeling that they are not able to acquire a job because they do not have enough experience, and not able to gain the necessary experience without a job.

“I understand that experience is obviously important for many positions in different fields, but college students have to start somewhere,” said Gulla.

“I have one word for gaining experience before getting a job. It’s called an internship. They can make a big difference in becoming employed or not,” said Corcoran.

Certain courses invite directors from the Insalaco Center for Career Development to talk to students about anything they may need to know about preparing for the real world and what they can expect.

“They allow us to come into a senior level class and reviews things they will need to know such as how to job search, how to interview, salary negotiations, illegal interview questions, and more. We will talk to the students about anything they want and need to know,” said Corcoran.

Some students have hope that employers might listen to the new generation of graduates entering the workforce. Occupy Wall Street came to the mind of one senior who heard about a group of Occupy Fashion students, some in her very situation.

“I’ve actually heard of an Occupy Fashion movement because students like me that have a passion for a career in this field will be interning our entire lives just to eventually find a job not in fashion,” said Drago. “It’s kind of unfair how fashion companies are operating right now and that they would rather hire unpaid interns than just add a few new positions.”

A career may be the goal for new graduates, but many believe that a first job should allow individuals to gain skills, those that they may take to another job.

“I think a lot of students think the job that they choose after graduation, ‘it’s so important I need to pick a good one,’ but they need to realize what you’re looking at is to pick a job for just that time. It’s not going to be your end all, be all job,” said Corcoran.

According to Corcoran, networking is a key component to landing a job. Social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, allow people to connect on a large scale and can even assist in winning the desired career.

“Twenty percent of jobs are obtained through actual postings that people apply to, and 80 percent of jobs are actually made through networking. Networking is probably the most important thing in acquiring a job,” said Corcoran.