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YOU GOT THE DEGREE, BUT NOT THE JOB: WHAT’S A GRADUATE TO DO?

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THE JOURNEY THROUGH THE HALLOWED HALLS OF HIGHER ED.

Congratulations on the successful completion of your degree program. The hard work, long nights of study, cramming for tests, and early morning (often boring) lectures have finally paid off. You’ve maintained a decent GPA, were an active member in a student organization, and even held a part-time position on campus. Now that your degree has been conferred, the expectation that a high-paying job will automatically appear will be a wake-up call to many new grads. The dedication and energy expended at school, for some, is just the beginning of your road toward success.

THE GOOD NEWS

On a more positive note, a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicates that 25.5 percent of graduates reported that they have a job waiting for them after graduation, with some weighing multiple job offers. The 2012 graduating class will enter the best job market there has been in nearly four years.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm). 115,000 jobs were added last month, and  unemployment has dipped to 8.1 percent.  Additionally, NACE reports that employers who recruit on college campuses plan to increase their hiring of new graduates by 10.2% from last year. “Although employers haven’t revised their earlier projections significantly, this upward movement along with other positive economic indicators show that the job market for new college graduates is improving steadily,” says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.

THE REALITY CHECK

As this nation continues to crawl from the grips of recession, an estimated 1.7 million students will walk across stage to be conferred a college degree. After breathing the liberating air of independence during their college experience, new grads have very little desire to return to home  and live again under the watchful eye of parental authority.

Even though there are positive signs on the horizon, it’s no time to slack in being a proactive job seeker. May 2012 graduates will vie for the same entry-level jobs as prior graduating classes that remain unemployed or underemployed. As unpopular as this news may be, the reality is the supply of available jobs does not meet the need of unemployed workers in the U.S.

TIPS FOR NEW GRADS

Consider these basic strategies to help you in your quest to obtain gainful employment and enjoy continue enjoying your new found freedom:

  1. Take advantage of the Career Development Center

This department is an invaluable resource to students and alumni. Advisors usually have real-time, up-to-date information on jobs, and can assist students and alumni with any number of services in their search. We offer mock interviews, resume critiques, job shadowing, internship/externship experiences, and much more.

  1. Attend Career Fairs

The Career Center hosts several events throughout the year and these are an excellent place for students to seek employment. Prepare beforehand by researching the companies that you are interested in, dress professionally, have your resume reviewed, and energetically work the room.

  1. Network, Network, Network

There is simply no way around it: networking results in upwards of 75% of all new hires. Students also join professional organizations, attend career-related events and conferences, talk with faculty, staff, and initiate informational interviews.

  1. Have a Mission Action Plan (MAP)

Without a daily plan of action to coordinate a purposeful job search, it’s easy to get side-tracked or discouraged. Like a school syllabus, it is best to have a structured plan in place to keep you on task in your job search. For example:

8:00-9:00             Research Industries          Next Action

10:00-11:00         Call / Email Contacts         Follow-Up Calls/Email 

12:00-1:00           Lunch 

1:00-3:00             Review Postings                Career Fairs 

3:00-4:00             Networking Events            Informational Interviews

4:00-5:00             Apply online                        Develop Schedule for the Next Day                                                               
The Career Development Center is committed to supporting all students from their first year to post graduation in their efforts to achieve professional success in their chosen field or industry. 

Donnell Turner, GCDF

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