After four years laboring at the University and thousands of
dollars exhausted on their education, many graduating seniors are
seeing that in the tight job market, their degrees won’t much
matter when it comes time to find employment.
LSA senior Adam Lasoff said the job offer he received as a
consultant after graduation ironically had very little to do with
his college education.
“I feel a lot of people who have jobs have been getting it
through friends,” Lasoff said, adding that his
roommate’s mother helped him find the job. “Seems like
a college education doesn’t do too much.”
That’s been the story for many seniors as they have found
the only way to get jobs is not through their credentials, but
through networking or using their own personal connections with
friends, families and employers.
With the tight labor market, for many seniors finding a job is
like trying to spot an endangered animal. It’s become a
backbreaking safari, as many job searchers try slicing through the
market using old-fashioned means of sending out resumes and more
modern schemes of browsing the Internet for opportunities.
Yet most of these methods are getting stuck in the mud as the
job market continues to be stubborn. Growth remains sluggish and
employment opportunities still seem to hibernate. Because of the
state of the job market, students and experts are convinced the
best way to find jobs is to network so that they can connect with
people who can employ them.
Lynne Sebille-White, assistant director of recruitment services
at the University Career Center, said students should expect the
conventional methods of attaining a job will be less effective.
But Sebille-White said just because those methods do not work
like the way they use to doesn’t mean jobs aren’t out
there. They just aren’t listed, so they can be very tricky to
track down, she added.
“There’s a small percentage of job openings
advertised, that you’ll see in newspapers or on websites,
you’ll see at job fairs. But a greater majority of the
positions are never advertised. They are filled through more of
referrals and word of mouth. So it’s always in
someone’s best interest to connect with professionals that
they are interested in working (with).”
She said the best way for students to find employment is by
networking. In making those connections, students can easily be
notified of job positions that are not advertised, Sebille-White
Building those networks is going to be even more critical to
finding jobs this year, analysts say. Michigan State University
researcher Phil Gardner, an expert in college employment, said most
businesses that are hiring this year will be hiring
“on-the-spot,” or will employ workers when they need
employees immediately to fill a position.
Businesses will not necessarily be advertising those positions
or coming to campuses to recruit students, Gardner added. The only
way students can know of those jobs is through networking.
“Right now, networking is the best way to find jobs,”
Yet networking will not only give you an advantage of being
notified of the jobs available, said John Luther, career
development coordinator of the School of Art and Design.
When making connections with employees, students will also be
creating friendships with people who might go take an extra step to
ensure that the student has a career when they graduate.
“But if you go into a job search without having a network,
it doesn’t matter what field you are in, things will be
harder for you,” Luther said.
For seniors who will have jobs after graduation, many of them
credit their networking with friends and family.
School of Education senior Dana Davis was hired by a law firm
after graduation because of contacts within her family. Networking
turned her job search into a breeze, since she found the job in
only three months.
“It wasn’t a really difficult job search. … I
kind of just fell into (the job),” she said.
Other seniors have gone through all the conventional methods of
sending resumes and checking websites only to find it
Lasoff said he began his job search in September and sent out
more than 60 resumes. Out of those, he only got four interviews,
and only one of those gave him a weak job offer, which he
He is just thankful that his roommate was able to come through
for him when his job search was looking grim. “I was
beginning to give up, until my roommate told me that his mom was a
part of a firm and they had a job position available,” he
But he said he is frustrated that his college education did
nothing for his job search. “I have done pretty well
grade-wise and I’ve held a few office jobs. … But it
only got me one job offer that I didn’t take.”