Horizon may brighten for 2010 graduates

A National Association of Colleges and Employers survey indicates the job market is improving.

A National Association of Colleges and Employers survey indicates the job market is improving.

LARA STRAYER TTN Fliers on Main Campus advertise jobs for students and recent graduates. Some have found themselves unemployed.

In light of the global economic recession, some of Temple’s 2010 graduates are fearing for their futures, but according to a recent poll conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, hope may be on the horizon. Despite popular belief and unemployment numbers that indicate otherwise, the college job market is slowly improving.

According to the poll, the current index for college hiring stands at 98.2 percent — up from 87.2 percent in the November poll. This doesn’t mean prospective graduates aren’t doing all they can do to ensure they land jobs after leaving college.

“The more people talk about how poor the job market is, the less engaged they want to be in getting a job,” senior marketing major Jared Fink said. “People keep saying the market’s so bad that there are no jobs out there, but, in fact, there are a lot of jobs. You just have to work for them.”

Fink, who is president of Temple’s chapter of the American Marketing Association, said thinking positively when looking for a job can help a student obtain one.

But not all students share Fink’s optimism.

“I’m not really looking. I have kind of thrown in the towel,” senior broadcasting, telecommunications and mass media major Eddie Doyle said in an e-mail. “I am really hoping to hit the lottery.”

But Temple Career Center Director Rachel Brown said students shouldn’t completely forget their dreams due to a poor economic climate.

“I believe in my heart-of-hearts that students are going to have success when they’re moving in the direction where they’re feeling it,” Brown said.

Landing a dream job does not come without effort, she said. Having practical experience through internships, part-time jobs and shadowing employers, as well as networking with potential professional contacts, are stepping stones in the process. Across the board, students, alumni, advisers and Career Center coaches are emphasizing the importance of building contacts and relationships with those in a students’ chosen career fields.

“Without question, the only real way to secure employment is through those you already know and the people they may know,” Temple alumnus Josh Villwock said. After graduating from Temple with a Bachelor’s degree in real estate and finance, Villwock became director of sales at OCF Reality in Philadelphia.

During Career Week, which begins Feb. 15, students can gain knowledge and experience related to job interviews, professional dress and networking with alumni like Villwock.

“The more people know what you’re looking for, the greater your chances are of finding it,” Brown said.
Career Week will be geared not only toward 2010 graduates, but also underclassmen looking to get a jumpstart on their post-graduation lives.

On April 28, a Senior Job Search Strategy Session will offer help to graduating seniors.

“While we want to say, ‘Start early,’ we also want to say, ‘It’s never too late,’” Brown said. “We have employers and partners who come and run these mini sessions on résumé writing, interviewing and networking.”

Typically, it takes six to nine months for a recent college graduate to land a job, she said, adding that students shouldn’t wait until after they’ve graduated to start applying for job openings.

“The most common thing is that most students don’t know anything about the company or the position they applied for,” Fink said. “If you don’t know anything about that company, you’re done right on the spot.”

Gradette Willis, director of admissions and student services for the School of Social Work, said students should acknowledge the interview and write a thank-you letter to the interviewer.

Some graduates decide to take an alternative route, applying to graduate school or volunteer programs like AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps. Both options have seen an increase in recent years, Brown said.

Former Temple student Katie Theriault worked with AmeriCorps through City Year and said the experience was rewarding.

“It gives you a great sense of pride and, for me, a much clearer professional direction and perspective on my purpose in life,” she said.

Brown pointed to the transferrable skills that are acquired through volunteer opportunities. Developing skills and sense of self are qualities that employers look for, she said.

Graduate school can be another option, but Brown said it is unwise for students to attend graduate school only to avoid the job market.

While some students might hold off a few years on graduate school, others say they have no reason to go beyond their undergraduate degrees.

“I’m really just ready to graduate and start my life,” Weinberg said. “I’m not trying to avoid or escape the job market. I’m ready to face it head-on.”

Amanda Fries can be reached at amanda.fries@temple.edu.

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