Job Outlook for College Grads

Robyn Tellefsen | June 25, 2012

job outlook for new graduatesWe may still be working our way out of a recession, but the job outlook for college grads is not as dreary as it may appear.

“Students should not be in the mindset that there aren’t any jobs out there,” says Stacie Hagenbaugh, director of the Smith College Career Development Office. “Many, many opportunities are there for the savvy and diligent job seeker.”

Take a look at the employment prospects for college grads at colleges and universities across the country, along with some expert career advice.

School: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD)
Where the jobs are: Engineering and computer engineering, health services, technology, education, and the Department of Defense.
Career advice for college grads:
“Make connections with everybody,” says Anne Scholl-Fiedler, director of the Career Services Center. “And when I say ‘everybody,’ it could be a grocery store clerk who knows the manager who knows the sales reps.”

School: Bates College (Lewiston, ME)
Where the jobs are: Consulting, finance, health care, education, communication, law, and government.
Career advice for college grads: Jill M. Helmkamp, co-director of the Office of Career Services, urges students to participate in internships. “No longer are internships seen merely as an adjunct to your education,” she says. “They are becoming the necessary step to get your foot in the door in order to land those entry-level jobs.”

School: University of Dayton (Dayton, OH)
Where the jobs are: In-demand majors include accounting, business administration, finance, foreign language (e.g., Spanish, Arabic, Chinese), engineering, computer science, computer engineering, information systems, operations management, and information technology.
Career advice for college grads:
Be able to articulate the connection between the job you are seeking and the skills you have, says Jason C. Eckert, director of career services. “The ‘I’ll take anything’ approach doesn’t work when you go to an interview. You have to show the employer that you’re a good fit.”

School: Saint Michael’s College (Colchester, VT)
Where the jobs are:
Health care, education, green technology, government agencies (especially the IRS), and the military.
Career advice for college grads:
“The key to this market is networking,” says Donna Atwater, career development counselor. “You have to find and contact as many people as you know, who know what you want to do, just in case something comes across their desk.”

School: University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
Where the jobs are: Information consulting, accounting firms/professional services, financial services, consumer goods, national research laboratories, software, and Internet companies.
Career advice for college grads:
Diane Martin, associate director of the Career Center, recommends that college grads conduct informational interviews. “Identify individuals working in a field of interest to you and find out what they do; get advice on how your skills, interest, and experience may match jobs within their industry; get tips for entering their respective industry; and ask for referrals/contacts,” she says.

School: Clark University (Worcester, MA)
Where the jobs are: Positive growth areas largely fall into the service, health care, and international sectors. The Peace Corps, Language Corps, and other similar overseas/service organizations are seeing an increase in applications, notes David McDonough, director of career services.
Career advice for college grads:
“Since hiring is slow in the U.S., this is an ideal time to go abroad to teach English,” says a Language Corps’ representative. “Demand for our teachers is still strong overseas, and for those who want an experience living in another culture, now is the time to do it.”

School: Washington and Lee University (Lexington, VA)
Where the jobs are: Investment banking, consulting, accounting, insurance, oil and gas production, nonprofits, green firms or startups, and the federal government.
Career advice for college grads:
“A job search done in isolation is bound to fail,” says Beverly Lorig, director of career services. “Meeting people and expanding your exposure is crucial in finding that job that just opened up. Target the middle-size firms where the layoffs have not been so severe. These regional or smaller employers are often easier to get your foot in the door.”

School: Smith College (Northampton, MA)
Where the jobs are: Human services, the arts, education, health care, and media/communications.
Career advice for college grads:
While job opportunities are available for graduates, the current economic climate requires that students be flexible and give the search time, says Stacie Hagenbaugh, director of the Career Development Office. “Keep in mind that many graduates temp and have part-time jobs while continuing job searches even in a good economy.”

–Robyn Tellefsen


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