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Preparing new graduates for an uncertain job market
by Lisa Severy, director, Career Services

Many people are nervous about the job market, especially those who are entering for the first time. The new college graduate market is different than the general job market and graduates should do their homework to discover new opportunities. While some industries may reduce their campus interviewing, others will employ new graduates to replace higher paid, mid-level employees.

Many staff and faculty members ask how they can help students and alumni in career transition. Your willingness to talk about their plans and offer feedback on interviewing skills and resumes is a great first step. Many of our students have never interviewed for a professional position and helping them build confidence is key. Also, reaching out to your own professional network on behalf of students is a big help. Experts estimate that 60 percent of jobs are never advertised. In a time when employers may get thousands of applications for a single job, a personal referral from you on behalf of a student will go a long way.

In addition, there are a few essential steps everyone should take to maximize job searching success, especially in a tricky economy:

1. Be flexible and patient. Students should expect the job search to take a little longer than a search conducted in a flush job market. Also, people may want to consider more entry-level positions in order to establish a good working relationship with an employer.

2. Clean up online profiles. Employers with good positions are flooded with applicants and they use the internet, including Facebook and MySpace, to narrow down the candidate pool. Candidates should run a thorough search and remove any negatives immediately. As an alternative, using professional networking sites like LinkedIn helps candidates put a positive, professional online image in place. Career Services also has a group on LinkedIn with over 1,000 students, employers, parents, staff, faculty and friends of the university that everyone should join to expand their network.

3. Visit a career counselor or coach. Being confident in resumes and cover letters helps to build confidence in entering the job market. At the same time, networking and interviewing are skills that can be practiced and improved. CU is invested in the success of graduates and provides professional career counselors to help students make solid career decisions, develop strong documents, and practice interviewing skills.

Even in tricky economic times, employers want to hire the best and brightest college graduates. Career Services is hosting several events to provide great opportunities for students and recent graduates to meet and network with potential employers. Details on all of our events are available on our website. Some of our upcoming events include:

  • Just in Time Hiring and Internship Fair open to all CU-Boulder students and alumni Wednesday, April 15, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the UMC Ballroom
  • Career Conference: Stand Out in a Tough Economy open to CU-Boulder seniors and alumni - RSVP required  April 21, from 3:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the UMC Hosted by Career Services, the Alumni Association, and the Senior Class Council

While all job seekers should pay attention to the overall state of the job market, every job search is different. Some industries or even individual companies may be hiring at a slower rate; others will be growing. New graduates should take advantage of the resources available and engage the job market strategically. With preparation and diligence, graduates will continue to be successful as they move into the professional world.

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