In the six years Corinne Snell has been working in the Center for Student Professional Development at the Fox School of Business, this is the first year she’s seen a decline in job postings.
FoxNet, the career services Web site for Temple business students, documented a 14 percent decrease in postings for full-time employment and a slight decrease in co-op postings. Yet, there has been a 7 percent increase in internship postings.
In an uncertain job market, soon-to-be Temple graduates in various majors are finding it necessary to secure internships, freelance and consulting and contract opportunities before graduation.
“Students need to begin to build a functional résumé of work now by securing freelance jobs,” said Scott Gratson, program director of the communications department in the School of Communications and Theater.
Opportunities vary depending on students’ majors, but a company often hires freelancers and contractors when looking for new staff since they’re usually familiar with the company’s work and confident in their abilities.
Alice Drueding, area chairperson of graphic and interactive design at the Tyler School of Art, echoed Gratson’s advice.
“Students are going to have to do some freelance work in order to get by,” Drueding said. “Tyler students are definitely having a harder time getting hired. When business experiences lower revenue, art is one of the first areas where a company will make cuts.”
Drueding, a professor and 20-year member of Temple’s staff, said she feels students should work on gaining experience while still in school, however, many students seem to remain clueless.
“There is no point in doing a project just for class,” said Dr. Susan Mudambi, associate professor of marketing for the Fox School of Business. “If you know the industry you are interested in working in after graduation, then direct your class projects toward a focus on that industry or a specific company.”
Snell, executive director of the Fox School’s CSPD, said students should be “strategic and proactive” in molding their futures.
“One internship on the résumé may not be enough,” Snell said.
“Your bachelor’s degree is not enough. Most seniors are coming to this realization too late,” Gratson said. “This is the toughest job market in decades. We cannot underestimate the demands for jobs right now.”
“I am graduating without the promise of a job,” Melvin Hill said about his luck on the job hunt.
Hill, a senior sports and recreation management major, will graduate in nine days. He has been interning with the Philadelphia Eagles for the past four months.
“I’ve had a couple of interviews with NBA teams, but no one has gotten back to me. I’m really not that worried because I can always go back home and work part-time,” he said.
“Internship programs are ways for companies to keep their show running, have in-house temp workers and train potential employees,” Snell said. “However, it is hard to hire graduates for full-time work when companies continue to layoff seasoned vets.”
Hill has worked with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in the past and said he feels confident there will be work for him if all else fails.
Most professors say it is students’ responsibilities to be proactive and find applications for their educations.
Dr. Mudambi recounted stories about how several of her former students landed jobs after they presented their research projects, which were initially created for classroom use, to the companies.
“These students refined their projects before requesting an audience from the company,” Mudambi said. “One student landed a job with a major Las Vegas casino.”
Quentin Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.