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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, April 12, 2024

Graduate situation not dire

College graduates these days are like a Beanie Baby collection. They were in high demand only a year or two ago, but those days are gone now. 

 

 

 

The past year or two have not been kind on either the economy or the prospects of college graduates. Take a declining economy, add a horrific tragedy like the New York and Washington, D.C., terrorist attacks, add the war in Afghanistan and you get an economy that, while not depression-caliber, is slumping, to say the least. 

 

 

 

\The stock market has nosedived,"" said Jon Udell, Irwin Maier Chair of Business. ""The economy has fallen after it was rising rapidly. Some economists predicted that ... we would never again see a recession'economists that make that prediction are always wrong."" 

 

 

 

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The stock market drop may have been inevitable, according to Udell. 

 

 

 

""We saw an irrationally rising stock market,"" Udell said. ""It has now come back to reality ... the economy has slowed, and if we weren't already there, we've been entering a recession for the last two quarters."" 

 

 

 

The terrorist attacks earlier this year also affected the market. 

 

 

 

""The terrible events of Sept. 11, the terrorists have altered our lives and business as well,"" Udell said. ""The tragedies such as the terrorist attacks are depressing and disastrous'this affects consumer confidence. Some economists have said that without the Sept. 11 attacks, the economy would have been picking up at the end of the third quarter."" 

 

 

 

Leslie Kohlberg, assistant director of Letters and Science/Human Ecology Career Services, said companies aren't as optimistic about growth, but internship programs are still prospering. 

 

 

 

""Employers are not hiring for projected openings any more,"" Kohlberg said. ""Internship programs are still strong; they are more affordable for companies'and they're great for when job openings occur. Internships are also helpful for building networks."" 

 

 

 

Alex Johnson, an economics major graduating in December, got an internship though connections that his mother knew. His internship, he found, offered him even further advancement with the company after graduation.  

 

 

 

""If you get an internship and work hard, when you graduate you'll have a good shot at a job,""??Johnson said. 

 

 

 

Johnson has already been in touch with one company that he first contacted at the career fair he attended in September. He was also a member of a professional society and found that the tours and experience he gained with it were helpful.  

 

 

 

""The internship and other experience is pretty important,"" he said. 

 

 

 

The slumping economy has created a beggars-can't-be-choosers mentality for graduating students. 

 

 

 

""Students may have to take what they can get,"" Udell said. ""They may not be able to pick their location'whether they work in Florida, the East Coast, Hawaii'and may have to go with their second or third choice. Some students may not even get an offer'that would be devastating for them."" 

 

 

 

However, he said job-seekers shouldn't give up. 

 

 

 

""Some companies are still expanding. Some are laying people off but still hiring in  

 

 

 

different areas,"" Udell said. ""There are a number of small and medium-sized companies, especially in the security products and in the security industry that are doing well."" 

 

 

 

Udell said the economy shows that students need to be proactive about seeking jobs to get hired. 

 

 

 

""[They] should be very conscientious in their job search,"" he said. ""They should actively sign up for job interviews ... [they should be aware that] the number of job offers [they get] will probably be significantly lower than in the past."" 

 

 

 

He said pay should not be significantly lower than last year, though the size and frequency of signing bonuses will be down. 

 

 

 

""The pay will be about the same or higher than this time last year,"" Udell said. ""Growth from last year to this is smaller than in past years.""  

 

 

 

Johnson has a few regrets. 

 

 

 

""I would go to class more,"" Johnson said. ""I wish I had worked to get my GPA. up the first couple years. It can be pretty important, and definitely can't hurt. I've heard you can even get a higher starting offer from some companies."" 

 

 

 

Kohlberg said finding a job is easier when a student knows his or her strengths and weaknesses. 

 

 

 

""[The key is] making good decisions about your career choice, what you're suited for and are naturally good at,"" Kohlberg said. ""Know what you want, what the employer is looking for and how to communicate that effectively.""?? 

 

 

 

Once a student knows what he or she is looking for, there are a few things that can give him or her an edge over the competition.  

 

 

 

""By the time a student leaves the UW, they should have a stellar resume, an effective, customized cover letter and be able to give a flawless interview,"" Kohlberg said. 

 

 

 

There are services on campus devoted specifically to helping students perfect these skills and get a job. 

 

 

 

""Services like ours [at Letters and Science/Human Ecology Career Services] are hard to find off campus and are very expensive,"" Kohlberg said. ""Educate yourselves about effective job search strategies, like networking and making contacts'Career Services can help. If you don't know what you want to do, Career Services can help you crystallize career goals, create a plan and take the next step."" 

 

 

 

She said services like Monster.com and HotJobs.com that worked well in the past by matching employers with perspective recruits will not work these days.  

 

 

 

""People have to establish relationships'it's even more essential at a time like this,"" Kohlberg said. ""There is a large return on time and energy spent making connections.\

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