The job market is changing in many fields.
Unfortunately, according to Ceceilia O’Callaghan, director of the office of Career Services, current students, as well as people in the workforce for many years, are looking at a much narrower job market in fields like business, engineering, computer science and communications.
“Last year, our hope was that this was just an immediate response to the Sept. 11 attacks and that things would start to rebuild soon, but that definitely didn’t happen,” O’Callaghan said.
She added, “If anything, things have gotten worse. We have definately felt an impact here on the East coast. We had a number of recruiters that pulled out right away.”
Employment in areas like education and nursing, which are responding to both national and international shortages, have remained steady.
“This isn’t a hopeless situation. There are jobs out there and students need to take a proactive approach to get them,” O’Callaghan said.
“Most of the economic predictors that I have looked at seem to indicate that we probably have roughly a year more of this being the situation,” O’Callaghan added. “Then hopefully we’ll start to pull out of this by spring of next year.”
Attending Career Days is one way to start on the road to employment, O’Callaghan said.
The next Career Day at the College is Feb. 26 and is expected to have approximately 90 recruiters.
This number is down from the usual 102 or so.
Career Days and individual career counseling are open to current students as well as young alum.
O’Callaghan explained that potential employers are often unsure of job openings and their ability to pay someone to fill them. This sometimes makes them wary of attending job fairs, but seem open to other events.
The College is holding a “Dining Out in Professional Style” on March 4 where students can learn the rules of professional dining etiquette and begin the networking process.
“Employers like these types of events because they aren’t on the spot to say they have openings,” O’Callaghan said. “But if they meet someone who really catches their eye, then they can follow up with that person.”
Career Services is looking to develop more programs like this for the upcoming year, O’Callaghan said.
O’Callaghan also advises students to enhance their resume with experiential education, such as internships and study abroad experiences.
Internships are a good way to develop relationships and connections with potential employers, O’Callaghan added. “Employers have a higher success rate hiring students out of internships because they have already seen if the person is a good match for the company,” O’Callaghan said.
Students also need to keep an open mind when new opportunities arise, O’Callaghan said.
She said that many students plan to live with their families for a few years after college.
However, relocating for a job can sometimes be a good career
move, she added.
“It may be tight for a few years, but if it is going to give (you) experience and let (you) grow it could be worth it,” O’Callaghan said.
“I would like to find an apartment wherever I get a job,” Meredith McDowell, a senior information systems major said.
McDowell feels that relocating after graduation would be beneficial to students with majors such as her own, where most of the jobs available are with big companies.
“Relocating provides a lot of new opportunities,” she added.
O’Callaghan also advises students to look for positions that aren’t necessarily the ones they had originally hoped for.
Students should look for jobs that can be used as “stepping stones” on a path to their dream jobs. After all, most people are expected to change jobs seven times in their lifetimes, O’Callaghan said.
Some students are considering graduate school as an alternative to job hunting after graduation.
“I think going to school longer, like to grad school, might be easier than looking for a job, considering today’s economy,” Joe Ward, sophomore law and justice major, said.
While graduate school may seem a more plausible alternative to job hunting, it may not be right for everyone, O’Callaghan said.
She advises students to come for individual counseling before making a decision.