There is finally some optimistic news for upcoming college graduates: students who plan to graduate this June should see slightly better job prospects than in recent years.
According to a recent report by researchers at Michigan State University (MSU), the overall hiring of new college graduates is expected to increase 3 percent from last year, resulting in 122,000 new job opportunities.
“We find a trend similar to the [MSU] report for our UC Davis students,” said Subhash Risbud, director of the Internship and Career Center (ICC), in an e-mail interview. “Job hunting is a little easier than a year or two ago, but it is still not a trivial task. Students must learn to present themselves well to make UC Davis proud.”
But the majority of employers are not actually hiring more people. The report attributes the increase in jobs to approximately 350 to 400 large companies looking to fill positions, with some smaller businesses creating new ones.
Thus students still can use the ICC’s help, which includes resources such as group advising sessions, resume-building workshops and several career fairs.
“It varies year to year, but we place about 5,000 to 6,000 students worldwide in a variety of internships, permanent careers and co-ops,” Risbud said. “A rough estimate of about 2,000 students get permanent career jobs by using ICC services.”
Not only does the ICC help undergraduate students find jobs, but they help graduate students as well, who according to the same report may actually experience a harder time finding professional employment than in the previous year.
However, the ICC does not share the same sentiment.
“The downturn in the economy has affected everyone,” said Janice Morand, project manager for the Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Career Services. “There are a pocket of jobs available, but I don’t see any evidence that it is easier if you have an advanced degree or an undergraduate degree.”
It’s more about how savvy you are in trying to find work. Learning how to market yourself, creating a profile on LinkedIn and knowing how to network are all essential for finding a job, Morand said.
The ICC encourages all UC Davis students – from first-years to postdoctoral scholars – to polish their resumes, practice good interviewing skills and always think about networking opportunities.
Nadine Custis, a senior international relations and Spanish double major, understands the value of networking. Thanks to her connections, she received an internship with a government agency after graduation.
“I’ve been wanting to do this internship since I was about 15, and although I know I’m qualified for it, the whole application process was definitely a lesson in how important networking and connections are,” Custis said in an e-mail interview.
Pursuing opportunities outside of the classroom is one of the most important things a student can do during the four years at college, Custis said.
“Everything you do provides you with an extensive network of people who you may work with in the future, and may even connect you with someone who is involved in a field you’re interested in,” she said.
The ICC is putting on two upcoming events: the Winter Internship and Career Fair, which takes place Feb. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the ARC Pavilion and the 12th annual Pathways Career Symposium on Jan. 29 at 8:30 a.m in 2 Wellman Hall. The symposium is an all day event aimed at helping graduate students and postdoctoral scholars learn skills to aid in finding a career position. Students can register online at iccweb.ucdavis.edu/graduates/pathway.htm.
“The ICC is a Davis campus treasure which is called the Crown Jewel of the UC system – students should use it to succeed in their professional life,” Risbud said.
The center is located in South Hall and is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
MICHELLE MURPHY can be reached at email@example.com.