Students look past graduation, into job market

Given the economic situation, it is no surprise that most young graduates face challenges finding jobs, even in fields with high demand.

The latest example of frustrated college graduates is the anonymous Boston College third-year law student, who wrote an open letter to the dean, proposing to exchange his degree for a full tuition reimbursement.

The most recent Labor Department statistics show the unemployment rate in the United States at 9.6 percent. The jobless rate has now topped 9.5 percent for 14 straight months.

“Butler graduates are holding up very well in a tough economy,” Director of Internship and Career Services Gary Beaulieu said. “In 2009, 92 percent of graduates were employed full time, in graduate school or completing gap year experiences six months post graduation.”

Beaulieu expects the class of 2010 to show similar statistics, but says this information will not be available until December.

Despite the statistics, many Butler graduates have had a hard time finding employment.

2009 Butler graduate Ethan Lees said it was difficult to rely on Butler’s career search Web site because of its similarity to other career search Web sites. He believes it would be helpful if it the Web site was more tailored to graduates.

“Finding a job in the field of journalism has been challenging, especially considering that online search options are not much help,” Lees said. “I’ve been going through family members and have gotten better results from that.”

Beaulieu said that graduates’ experience varies across the board, depending on their majors.

The fields that have seen the most demand and easiest job placement are accounting, actuarial science, biology, chemistry, pharmacy, education, public relations and arts administration.

On the other hand, he said that many fields, like marketing, are seeing a downsizing trend.

However, as much as a particular field may not be in high demand, he says that there are many things beyond a major that may impact a student’s chance for success in the job market.

According to an ABC News article, in his letter, the student alleged that the school’s career services were insufficient in helping him find employment. This is a scary claim, considering university career services are often the starting point for a student’s job search.

Internship and Career Services at Butler assists students in increasing their job success rate by providing practice interviews and resume and cover letter writing workshops.

Beaulieu encourages students to network and seek out connections that lead to potential job opportunities.

“You never know who knows somebody that can help you connect to someone who will lead to an internship or a job,” he said.

Regardless of their post-graduate intentions, the one thing that Beaulieu recommends for students is an internship experience, even if a major doesn’t require one.

“Many employers are not even looking at students who haven’t completed an internship,” Beaulieu said.

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