Should have taken that internship.
That may be the thought some Kansas University graduates have as they walk down Campanile Hill Sunday as part of the university's commencement ceremonies.
Mary Andrade, assistant director of KU's University Career and Employment Services, said students who took internships, part-time jobs or other resume-enhancing activities were faring much better in their job search than those students who simply got a degree.
"I'm not sure the degree is what companies are looking for at this point," Andrade said. "What they're looking for is experience. The students who have worked hard to get some experience while they were here are going to have an easier time of it.
"I hope the underclassmen are taking note of all this."
Andrade said the number of companies making visits to the campus declined during the school year, in part, because many companies were filling their full-time positions almost exclusively from their internship pools.
"They don't feel like they need to come to campus as much because they feel like they have quality people knocking on their door, really already inside the door," Andrade said.
Andrade, who has been with the office since 1999, characterized this year's job market as the toughest one she'd been a part of.
"It definitely is not as sweet as in prior years," Andrade said. "A lot of students are already giving up on the job market. They don't think there are jobs out there. That's a mistake. Those people who are putting in the work are still getting job offers. I still have a success file."
Andrade said nurses, health care workers and special education teachers continued to be in highest demand in the area.
"Last year the entire teaching profession was pretty strong, but that's not the case this year," Andrade said. "That just shows how quickly the market can change."
KU students who are having trouble finding jobs are turning to the university's graduate programs at an increasing rate. Diana Carlin, dean of KU's Graduate School, said applications to the school increased by 2 percent to 3 percent during the last school year, after posting small declines the previous five years.
She said she expected applications for the next school year to be slightly higher.
"People feel like they have to distinguish themselves in some way," Carlin said. "When you are competing against people who have more education than you do, graduate school is a way to distinguish yourself."
She said that the increase in applications wasn't just attributable to recent graduates delaying their job search.
"There are also people who have been in the job market and who have lost their jobs, and they are coming back, too," Carlin said. "That has been a pretty significant number for us."