Monday, March 16, 2009

Dude, where's my job? College graduates can find career help in many different places

By now it's common knowledge that the job market is suffering. But what does a "tough market" mean for students looking for jobs or internships? Employers are expecting to hire 22 percent fewer graduates from the 2009 class than from the year before, according to projections from the National Association of Colleges and Employer's Job Outlook 2009 Spring Update. With that in mind, it's time for students to start getting smart about the job hunt. job search expert Alison Doyle said the most important thing students need to do now is visit the career office because it can offer access to many resources, not only for jobs but also for interviewing skills and resume and cover letter writing.

Staci Heidtke, arts and sciences internship manager, said Career Services, 230 Schofield Hall, offers many helpful tools for students looking for internships or jobs. One tool is Career Link, an online database students register for. Employers search the database, often directly contacting the student, she said. Another helpful tool is Ask an Alum, where students can contact alumni, ask informational questions and network, making important contacts.

Steven Rothberg, founder and president of, the leading job board for college students offering many free online resources to aid the job search, said the biggest thing he can stress to a student looking to land a job is to avoid relying on the Internet to find a job.

"(Students) need to get out from behind the computer," he said.

But that doesn't mean don't use a computer. Rothberg recommended looking at two or three online job boards, targeting niche career paths as well as a desired location. Students should search job openings, set up job match alerts through the site if offered and apply for any job they are qualified for. This should take no longer than a day, he said. After that, students need to stop wasting time perusing the online job boards, he said.

"It's not a productive use of time," he said. "Eighteen months ago it was OK to do it. Well, not now."

Rothberg, who has been through three recessions, said he sees newcomers to in the job market making the same small mistakes when looking to get hired. In good economic times, Rothberg said employers are more forgiving when reviewing resumes and interviewing applicants; they are financially in a place to be hiring. In bad times however, Rothberg said employers are looking for arbitrary reasons to eliminate candidates for a particular job from the hiring pool simply because they cannot hire as many people.

For this reason, Rothberg has six pieces of advice for the inexperienced job hunter:

Pick a specific industry
One mistake Rothberg said he sees from students is trying to be everything to every potential employer.

"When you do that, you end up being nothing to everyone," he said. "It's the kiss of death." Rothberg said students should pick one specific industry and focus all efforts on 10 to 20 employers within that industry. Rothberg also said resumes and cover letters should be tailored to each of those 10 or 20 employers; no one should ever receive the same copy of a resume or cover letter.

Incorporate the "lingo"

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