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Struggling economy affects job market

Amanda Gray | Friday, May 14, 2010

Even though the job market is challenging, Kevin Monahan, associate director of the Career Center, said he is optimistic for the graduating senior class.

“When students say ‘It’s a bad market,’ I say, ‘someone’s getting hired today. Why can’t that be you?’” Monahan said. “There are opportunities out there. You just have to be assertive.”

But some students say the effects of the poor economy have hit them hard.

Senior Jim Quiniff, an aerospace engineering major, said his field of study isn’t translating well to the job market.

“A lot of people [in this field] didn’t get jobs last year,” Quiniff said. “This leads to more competition.

“Not a lot of companies are hiring.”

Quiniff said he has been looking into the aircraft and space industries and even though he’s been searching for a job since the beginning of the school year, he said he has only had two interviews.

Senior Alex Bodewig, a management consulting major, said she also felt the competition for jobs.

“I was looking for any job in business,” she said. “Consulting requires lots of travel time, so I’m not sure if I want that.”

Bodewig is from El Salvador, which makes her job search more difficult, spanning two different countries.

“It takes a long time to find a job listing you’re interested in,” Bodewig said. “It’s also hard when you don’t hear back. The waiting is rough.”

She said professors and the Career Center have been urging students to keep applying.

“They said the market is rough, but looking up,” Bodewig said. “There have been people getting offers the last couple of weeks. It’s very last-minute.”

Bodewig, who has an upcoming interview but no job offers yet, said the economic state is hitting many graduating students hard.

“Companies don’t have the money to hire,” she said.

The Career Center is helping bring companies to students, at least virtually, Bodewig said. She said video conferencing is helping bring more interviews in because companies don’t have to pay for travel expenses.

Monahan said the Career Center works with students in all stages of the job hunt to help them find a job that is right for them.

“The Career Center meets students where they are in the process,” Monahan said. “We help with every aspect.”

Graduating senior Kate Callahan said she used help from the Career Center to land a job at Nielsen, one of the biggest marketing research companies in the world.

Callahan said she received her job offer at the end of fall semester, but that wasn’t the case for many applying for jobs.

“In the fall, companies didn’t know where they would be in the spring,” Callahan said. “There was a lot more stress and pressure on students.

Callahan said the job market has been noticeably more competitive recently due to the economy.

“There are fewer jobs out there,” Callahan said. “There are fewer offers. It’s really competitive.”

Yet Monahan said he saw a broad list of companies looking at students for possible employees.

“Across the board there was broad interest,” Monahan said. “There were companies from film and public relations to the traditional corporate field.”

The Career Center’s most successful year-long venture was alumni-student networking, Monahan said.

“Students should embrace networking,” Monahan said. “They are phenomenal resources to connect with people in many fields.”

Despite the tough job market, Bodewig said she can see a silver lining.

“I think a lot of people considered service or more school because of the tough market,” she said. “It forced people to consider other venues for their passions. They could go for their calling.”