Experts give job insights to graduates


Jana L. Haas

Have a resume ready, have it checked by a professional, and have several drafts of cover letters written up ahead of time.

Paula Hawks, a May 2001 graduate of the education program at SDSU, says these things will help graduates as they enter the work force.

Hawks teaches physical science, biology, and 7th-grade exploratory anatomy at West Central High School in Hartford.

“Start looking now. Do your research before you apply and know something about the hiring committee or administration. Know about the community. Know about the philosophy of the company. Find out anything you can about the place you are applying to. Register with the CAP Center–hat’s what they’re there for,” Hawks said.

As fall graduation nears, many students are preparing to enter the work force. While the economy wanes, many SDSU faculty and staff advise students to start looking for job prospects prior to graduation.

SDSU students find jobs throughout the nation, abroad, and also within the state.

According to a Department of Labor survey sent to last spring’s SDSU grads, 867 of 1,102 respondents have jobs in South Dakota. A total of 1,556 students graduated last May.

Nationwide, college graduate hiring is expected to be up 4 percent for 2003.

However, some majors are more promising than others.

The demand for teachers is high right now according to Susan Fredrikson, employment development director for the CAP Center.

Hawks also advises current SDSU students to search the classifieds for certain jobs. She said searches to fill teacher job openings start in January and February for the next school year.

“Pharmacy positions are always in high demand, as well as health care in general,” Fredrikson said.

Nursing students continue to be high demand as there is a nationwide shortage of nurses. SDSU, operating cooperatively with Sioux Falls hospitals, is trying to boost its nursing program to help meet the demand.

Demand for engineers is declining slightly, Dr. Van Kelley, department head of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering said.

“The market is a little softer now that what it was a couple years ago. But there is still a fairly good demand for graduates,” Kelley said.

The College of Engineering hosts a career fair every October where approximately 50 employers gather to meet with students. Students are encouraged to setup internships and jobs there.

Kelley also encourages students to get in touch with faculty as “all of our faculty have a fairly large number of contacts. Students are advised to talk to faculty to get in touch with employers.”

Networking is a major part of job searching.

“You never know where job leads are going to come from and sometimes they come from the most unusual sources like distant family and friends,” Fredrikson said.

Potential is also good agriculture-related, law enforcement and local and federal government positions, according to Fredrikson.

Political Science majors often enter both the private and the governmental sectors of employment. Students seek employment in local, state, and public roles in personnel management and management training positions.

“Graduates of political science are also well-prepared to work in campaign consulting and other positions that deal with campaigns and politics as opposed to governments themselves,” Dr. Bob Burns, department head of Political Science, said.

The SDSU Political Science department saw 15 first-year students who have a political science major.

The events of Sept. 11 may have sparked some political interest to prepare for a career in pubic service according to Burns.

Also, the demand for most liberal arts majors, like political science, follows the strength of the economy, Burns said.

“Students need to realize the uncertainty of applicants on the employers’ side. But the positions are there. It might take a little more time, a little more diligence, but this doesn’t mean you won’t find a job,” Fredrikson said.