With the American economy in a financial tailspin this past year and people still feeling the pinch of the economic recession, many employers are unable to hire new talent coming out of the universities across the country. In fact, many companies have let go their current employees in an effort to survive this recession. As a result, California’s unemployment rate reached 12.4 percent in December 2009 according to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Students on track to graduate from the University of San Francisco must find creative ways to beat the odds and be successful in their job search.
In times of economic expansion and growth, companies actively recruit on college campuses. Career fairs at USF have included a range of organizations. This year’s Career and Internship Fair on March 5, 2010 in McLaren Complex features a range of organizations from the financial services, health, hospitality, government, and education industries, but there were even more companies coming to campus in years past. This is the reality of a tough job market.
What can students do to be successful in finding employment in this tough economic environment? First, students should be focused, but also flexible and open in their job search. Looking for a job is not going to work unless you know what you are looking for. However, because the companies or organizations you might be most interested may not be hiring, one should probably widen the pool of potential employers and be open to a greater range of opportunities.
Second, students should remain true to themselves and present a realistic picture of what they offer to a potential employer. This process starts by preparing a resume and practicing for interviews. The interview is an opportunity for the employer to learn more about the student but also an opportunity for students to see whether they would fit into the particular organization.
Third, students should try and gain work experience through internships and other campus opportunities. Students should build upon what they learn in the classroom and apply it to the world. Not only is this a valuable learning experience but this will also allow you to make contributions to your community. The reason college students will find it more difficult to find employment now is because firms are reducing their staff and college students are usually not hired because they lack experience or are unqualified. Internships and work experience in a field will allow students to explore a particular career while networking and making connections.
Fourth, students should develop skills that are going to be ever more useful in the future and that will set them apart from other applicants. The first job students get after college probably will not be their last. We now live in a global economy where people will work for several companies in the course of their career. Therefore, it is important for students to develop skills that will make them a valuable member of any team or organization.
Certainly an education at the University of San Francisco is valuable in and of itself but students need to build upon its value by choosing courses and seeking opportunities that will give them the skills and knowledge they need to set them apart from others. In this way students will not only gain and education but they will also have all the tools they need to make contributions to the organizations and communities where they will be after they graduate.