In this economic recession, it is becoming harder to find a job, but college graduates already have one advantage in the job market — a college education. In March, the national unemployment rate climbed to 8.5 percent, while the current unemployment rate for college graduates is 4.3 percent, according to CBS.
Although still relatively low, the unemployment rate for college graduates has doubled since last year. A study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers predicts companies will hire 22 percent fewer graduates this year. A degree is no guarantee of employment, but with a little work, jobs are obtainable.
Graduates should not be too narrow in their job search. To reach their dream job, they may first have to work at a less desirable entry-level position. Even in a recession, there are certain companies that are still hiring.
According to U.S. News and World Report, jobs for graduates are available in the fields of health care, engineering, accounting and energy.
Working for the government may also be a good option. According to CBS, the U.S. government has more than 40,000 openings and is interested in hiring employees straight from college. The U.S. Department of Defense, for example, hires hundreds of graduates every year and is especially interested in business management, history, education, finance, counseling and sociology majors, according to the Boston Globe.
College seniors may have to compromise on where they want to work. Ideal cities may not have strong job markets, and graduates should go where the jobs are. California, for example, is facing a shortage of college graduates. A study released by the Public Policy Institute of California predicts that in 2025 the state will have 1 million fewer degreed employees than its work force needs. While an estimated 41 percent of California jobs will require a four-year degree, only 35 percent of working-age adults are expected to have one. It is likely that California will reform this problem, but graduates looking to move west should consider working there.
Graduates can no longer expect to be hounded by on-campus recruiters. Finance and engineering firms that once employed many recruiters are now waiting for graduates to come to them, according to the Globe. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 60 percent of all graduates are unemployed coming out of college, regardless of the economic environment. In this environment, however, it will likely take at least nine months to find a job, three months longer than usual.
The best way to get a job is to be patient and persistent. Rejection letters should be expected, because with higher numbers of unemployed applicants, companies can afford to be more discerning. If graduates keep a cool head, they will be able to find employment even in a slumping economy.
Michael Hardcastle is a freshman majoring in creative writing and mass communications.