Like many of last year’s seniors, 2002 Engineering graduate Dave Cohen naturally assumed he would be able to find a job, despite the nation’s weak economic environment. But almost five months after leaving college, Cohen is still looking for employment.
“It’s difficult for people coming out of college. I’m up against
people with three to five years of experience,” he said, noting that as job openings have shored up, the market of job-seekers has grown, in light of mass layoffs following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. “There’s a lot of people looking,” he added. “Probably only half of my friends (from high school and college) have jobs. And engineering is one of the better job markets at the moment.”
Cohen is not alone. Although Michigan unemployment rates decreased for the month of August, overall, the number of Americans asking for unemployment benefits is on the rise. According to government statistics released last week, jobless claims, hovering at 418,500, are the highest in four months.
“We know the anxiety is high right now,” said Lynne Sebille-White, assistant director of recruitment services at the University’s Career Center. “Things seem to be in a holding pattern. Employers seem to be on the fence.”
Sebille-White recommended that students begin their job searches early, regardless of what industry they are interested in, and consider a broad number of employment options.
“You never want to put your eggs in one basket with a job search,” she said.
She added that pharmaceutical, education and federal government positions seem to be among the more favorable hiring areas at the moment.
Jeanne Wilt, assistant dean of admissions and career development at the Business School, noted in light of weak hiring conditions, Business School students are being more realistic.
“Last year, everything was so much of a change . (students) had to adapt,” she said. “They know off-campus job skills . are more important than ever.”
According to Wilt, the Business School has seen lighter recruiting, but “tried and true companies are still coming to campus. They know how important the relationship (with the Business School) is.”
As for students and job searches, “it’s part of their focus all the time,” Wilt said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s part of the reason why they came to the Business School.”
Sebille-White noted the Career Center’s upcoming job fair Oct. 3, to be held at the Michigan Union, which will be one of the largest of its kind on campus this fall. More than 80 employers will be present, including Bank One, Procter & Gamble and Bloomingdale’s. The event is open to all students.
As for Cohen, he said he plans to attend an upcoming job fair for engineers. When asked what advice he had to current seniors beginning the task of looking for jobs, he replied, “Apply to as many places as you can.”