Tough Job Market for Some Grads

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Feb 9, 2011 in , , , , , , | 4 Comments

This is the second of an extensive three part post regarding internships for students and grads. The third post will be on Thursday.

Recent grad, or soon to be one?

If you’re not in the top 10-20% of your class, you’ll face one of the most difficult job markets in decades.

But, don’t let that discourage you, read on…

The affects of a downtrend in the economy are far-reaching, and some grads face an especially difficult uphill climb, even if they find employment. Disappointing starting positions–and even more disappointing salaries–which can stunt a career in the long haul, are the new norm for those not in the top 10-20%. Below you’ll find helpful tips to ensure employment.

A Few Options

In the article by Matthew Bandyk, “The High Stakes of First Jobs”, (U.S. News & World Report), it suggests students continue with their higher education, “…grad school might actually be one of the best ways to avoid long-lasting reduction in wages,” states Lisa Kahn, assistant professor of economics at Yale School of Management. But, what if you can’t afford to go to grad school, or don’t want to miss work opportunities? There are other options.

Networking is extremely important. If a recent grad can be referred, they stand a better chance of not only being hired, but making a decent starting pay. Usually a company will reward the employee that referred you once you establish yourself as an asset, so the person who assists you wins too. Where you start in position and pay seems to matter, a study claims, so being referred is the way to go.

Showcasing and Attitude

Knowing what skills you have to offer, showcasing them on your resume and in an interview, obtaining more skills, and being willing to go the extra mile–all work in your favor. Figure out what your weaknesses happen to be and do all you can to improve. Standing out from the crowd will get you noticed, and eventually hired.

Ryan Kellett, a graduate of Middlebury College in January, believes having a good attitude is just as important as his resume. “It helps to have a positive attitude,” he says. Maintaining that a positive attitude throughout a difficult job search is essential for success. Every job interview and networking opportunity allows you to show someone new your eagerness and willingness to put your skills to use. Your attitude comes through in your tone of voice, choice of words, and body language.

Community College Grads

Don’t be discouraged if you’ve just graduated with a two-year degree, there is an expected increase in employment over the next decade for those with associate’s degrees in home health care, dental hygienists, vet technicians and physical therapists.

Keep going to school and or training, to hone skills in your field–even specializing–if at all possible. This enables you to become more marketable. If time is not on your side, opt for online courses, just be sure to thoroughly check out the school for valid accreditation (see my other posts regarding this subject) . You can save time and money (in parking fees, gas and commuting) by taking online courses designed to boost your potential in the job market. Ask employers in the field what schools or training programs they suggest.

Internship Experience Essential

Take advantage of your schools “pre-professional experiences”, also known as internships. Longwood University in Virginia, had an impressive 74% of it’s 2008 graduating student body find jobs within six months of graduation. The reason for the grads success rate? Longwood requires all grads to complete internships.

Internships give students an edge that they might not have otherwise. For example, PricewaterhouseCoopers gets 70% of new hires from its internship program. If your school has internships as a part of their course curriculum, that’s an institution which gives students a great future for employment. If your school doesn’t offer one, suggest they do, or find another school that does offer an internship program.

Don’t miss Thursday’s post, the last in this series about internships, that discusses a new online tool for college students and grads. It enables you to easily shop for internships! What could be better?

“Where your talents and the world’s needs cross, there lies your vocation.” -Aristotle

©2010 Judy Anne Cavey, who resides in the S.F. Bay Area of California, is a credentialed, certified, higher education instructor who taught Work Experience/Cooperative Education and ESL at three community colleges. She is also a freelance writer and grant writer currently authoring a textbook, has designed other learning programs, and worked with several nonprofits. Her Edublog, “Work Experience”, is a not-for-profit endeavor designed to assist job seekers of all ages.