Class of 2005 Cautious About Job Prospects

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College Seniors Have Low Expectations of Finding Employment by Graduation

CollegeGrad.com, the #1 entry level job site, today released its survey results on employment expectations for the Class of 2005. Only 29% of college seniors recently surveyed expect to find employment by graduation. The remaining 71% expect their job search to continue through the summer, for six months or even more following graduation. Some students attribute their low expectations to a poor job market, while others are just waiting to begin their job search until after they graduate.

"While the entry level job market has improved in the past two years, college students are still pessimistic about their prospects," said Brian Krueger, President of CollegeGrad.com. "In spite of the general pessimism, there are plenty of entry level jobs available for those who take the time to do the research and utilize the multitude of available resources."

"Students in the Class of 2005 have clearly been impacted by the saturation of news stories on the state of the U.S. economy," says Rachel Moeller, Assistant Career Services Director at Lafayette College. "They have spent most of the last three years hearing about cheating executives, employer layoffs, corporate downsizing, the tanking of tech companies and other such depressing job market information."

Susan Strayer, Assistant Director of Career Services at the John Hopkins University School of Professional Studies in Business and Education points out, "New graduates and even graduate students with significant work experience are using the economy as a crutch. Job seekers should use the state of the economy to change their strategy, but not blame the economy. Candidates should assess the level of effort they're putting into a search before making broad assumptions."

Students are also now competing against more than just their fellow graduating class. "College grads are competing for jobs against experienced displaced workers," explains Lynne Stefanowski, Academic Advisor at the Community College of Denver. "And these numbers of unemployed or displaced workers have been growing."

The economy is not the only factor in the expectations that college seniors have of the current job market. Many students struggle with the "experience" dilemma. Frank Prioleau Jr, who will graduate in December 2004 with a Computer Science degree from Limestone College explains, "I have gotten letters saying I don't have the experience needed. How can I get experience if no one gives me the chance?"

Jan Harris, Director of the Career Services Center at the Community College of Philadelphia points out that many college seniors "have an unrealistic expectation of the type of job for which they are qualified and will be hired. Entry level is sometimes not glamorous, but it is the first step to a new career path. Students often do not understand that this means they may not be crazy about that first job, it may not be exactly what they want, the pay may be low and some of the duties may be tedious."

Career center advisors repeatedly lament the fact that students do not make their job search their first priority. "There is not a universal impetus for resume and job hunting until the last minute," said Mary Banks, Director of the Business Career Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

"The most frustrating excuse that I hear regularly from college seniors is that they are just too busy with their coursework and their athletic teams to spend time on their job search!" said Grady McClendon, Director of Career Services at Webber International University. "In other words, their job search doesn't seem to be very high among their priorities."

Meanwhile, some students just want to take some time off from the pressures of their senior year. UC-Boulder's Banks points out, "Many are anxious to get out and do something unrelated to school, career, major or anything else binding."

The not-surprising result is a delayed entry into the entry level job market.

Not all students are pessimistic about their future employment opportunities. "I actually just got a job last week!" says A. Armstrong, who will graduate with an Engineering degree from the University of Alabama in December of 2004. Armstrong stresses the importance of conducting a broad job search. "Don't rely on just your career center or just one web site. Many companies don't post their job openings on their websites, so find a contact within that particular company and send in your resume and cover letter by mail."

Linda Nguyen, a psychology major at the University of Texas at Dallas, who plans to accept her "post-graduation" job prior to her December 2004 graduation outlines her plans. "Having a job lined up prior to graduation depends on gaining relevant experience before graduation, maintaining at least an average GPA and presenting an achievement-oriented resume," says Nguyen. "I prepared by volunteering with schools prior to my expected graduation date, and letting the school districts know of my interest and qualifications while letting them see examples of my work."

Recommendation from CollegeGrad.com's Krueger? "Don’t wait until graduation to start your job search--start early. It's never too early to start your job search. This small step of getting started as early as possible will put you ahead of the competition."

Following are the overall survey results:

Seniors! When do you think you will accept your post graduation job?

  • By Winter Break – 10%
  • By Spring Break – 7%
  • By Graduation – 12%
  • By End of Summer – 16%
  • Within Six Months after Graduation – 19%
  • More than Six Months after Graduation – 36%

The survey was conducted online nationally with more than 2500 participants during September and October, 2004.

About CollegeGrad.com:

CollegeGrad.com is the #1 entry level job site on the Internet and is the leader in the field of entry level job search. Brian Krueger is President and Founder of CollegeGrad.com and author of the best-selling book for entry level job search, College Grad Job Hunter.

Contact: Heidi Hanisko

Phone: 262-375-6700

Email: Heidi.Hanisko@CollegeGrad.com

Brian Krueger, President and Founder of CollegeGrad.com, is available for further interviews with national media on topics related to Internet job search and entry level college student hiring trends. Contact Heidi Hanisko to obtain contact information.

Additional student and career center quotes for this story can be accessed at http://www.CollegeGrad.com/press.

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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