December Graduates Looking at Improved Job Prospects|Southern Education Desk
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There is some good news for those about to make the leap from university into the job market.
College graduates looking for work in certain sectors following a December cap and gown ceremonies are in better shape than a year ago.
Employment is not guaranteed, but job prospects are brightening.
Luke Briley is preparing to graduate next month from the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s construction management program.
He says he’s sent out roughly 50 resumes and has received four job offers.
Briley tracked job prospects during his time in college; he’s relieved to be graduating at a time when the economy is showing signs of improvement
“It was scary. I think first-hand in the economy the first people that feel it are in the construction side. In the construction industry I think they feel it first-hand because if people aren’t making money people are getting laid off, people aren’t building, people aren’t wanting to expand.”
Dr. Keith Parker, the director of the school of construction management at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, agrees that the job market is on the upswing.
“We have gone from a time where companies were looking for slots to come in ‘when can we come in to interview your graduates,’ before 2008, to a time where ‘just tell them to send a resume if they’re interested; we’re not hiring, we don’t have any positions,’ to where we’ve kind of cycled back up to where, we’re not probably going to have 100 percent for people. But it’s a lot more than no one coming whatsoever looking for your graduates.”
A National Association of Colleges and Employers study says that employers who responded to a job outlook survey are planning to hire 9.5 percent more graduates in 2012 than they did this year.
And graduating in December may confer other advantages.
The study says that in 2011, 64 percent of employee recruitment was done in the fall.
The director of ULM’s career connections, Alberta Green, has a shortlist of in-demand degrees for December graduates:
“College of business, construction and also education.”
Arthur Breedlove is slated to graduate from the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s business administration program in December.
He has landed a job with a major bank.
“You go to school to get a degree, but there’s not a guarantee that you’re going to land a job in the field that you’re going to school for. And the job market right now is so tough and competitive that you just have to get out there. And the earlier you start the better.”
Both construction and finance made the top ten list of projected hires on the National Association of Colleges and Employers survey.
But Alberta Green says every graduate is looking at bright prospects.
“General studies majors, English majors and mass communications; some of those will have difficulty finding jobs.”
That’s proved true so far for Jeana Chesnik.
She will participate in December cap-and-gown ceremonies with a master’s degree in ULM’s communication department. But she says that, despite putting out twenty resumes, there are still no firm job offers.
Still, she’s keeping in mind the sectors that are doing most of the hiring.
“I just think to myself that each one of those fields needs a communication person so, at one point or another there’s going to be a job opening up, whether it’s in construction or science or education of some sort. And, whether it’s teaching or helping them out with the media of any sort, I’m confident in the degree I got. And I feel I will be able to apply it eventually, even if it takes a little bit longer.”
But all recent graduates of Southern universities should take heart.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers study says that survey respondents indicate that more hires took place this year in the South than any region of the country, except the Northeast.
And that trend is projected to continue through next year.