Archive for Sunday, May 17, 2009

2009 grads face ‘thinner’ job market

The National Association of Colleges and Employers says that only one in five graduates have lined up jobs following graduation.

May 17, 2009


Shirley Martin-Smith offers job-search tips

Shirley Martin-Smith, owner of an Adecco staffing franchise in Lawrence and president of Martin-Smith Personnel Services, says graduates and other job seekers should embrace the importance of networking, seek assistance from employment professionals, and take care to make real connections when sending in employment applications and resumes. Enlarge video

On the street

What was your first job after graduation?

I worked at a grocery store. I started out as a sack boy and ended up as assistant manager.

More responses

Gavin Strunk is about to receive his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, but he isn’t about to enter the workforce.

The budding “mechatronics” expert still has unfinished business on Mount Oread — thanks, at least in part, to an economy that isn’t offering the same job opportunities of recent years.

“It has been noticeably thinner,” said Strunk, opting to return to Kansas University in the fall for grad school. “There are jobs available, but you don’t really see your ‘dream job’ just jumping out to grab you. It’s a lot of ‘what’s available’ … if you can even get a job.”

Nationwide, only 19.7 percent of graduates who have applied for jobs actually have landed employment, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. That’s down from 26 percent at this time last year, and from 51 percent in 2007.

Shirley Martin-Smith, president of Martin-Smith Personnel Services and owner of the Adecco staffing agency in Lawrence, advises grads to consider taking positions with good companies, even if initial responsibilities or compensation might fall short of expectations.

“Oftentimes, they’re stepping stones within that company,” Martin-Smith said. “Many companies still promote from within. The concept of ‘just get your foot in the door’ is more important today than it’s ever been.”

Strunk is counting on his upcoming master’s focus on “mechatronics” — a fusion of mechanical engineering and electronics — to help him secure his dream job: working in robotics with the Department of Defense, or perhaps NASA.

“It’ll help me get a step ahead,” he said.


laiie430 9 years ago

Think national service. AmeriCorps or AmeriCorps VISTA sure don't pay much, but it's a great way to spend a year gaining experience, and then you'll get a $4,725 Education Award to go back to grad school after a year. Plus they're overwhelmed with funds right now, and it looks good on a resume.

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