Graduates not phased by economy

Tanya Marsh

Tanya Marsh

It’s not exactly breaking news anymore: the economy is slowing down.

Does this have December graduates worried about finding a job?

In short, no. Many students already have jobs and others don’t believe job hunting will be greatly hindered by the economic slowdown.

Angie Klein graduates this month with a degree in hotel food service management. She said she has a job lined up.

“I will be a manager at the Pizza Ranch in Brookings ? I do work there now. I got offered the job probably about a month ago.”

Even before this offer was made, Klein wasn’t worried about finding a job, she said.

“I guess the reason I wasn’t worried is because I’ve worked at Pizza Ranch in the past, and I was thinking about staying there,” she said.

Entering the field with a hotel/restaurant and institution management degree is Nicole Chase. Chase has not yet found a job but is not concerned.

“I’m not really worried [about the economy] in SD too much, even though I haven’t found [a job] yet,” she said. “It just takes a long time to find anything.”

Whether or not the recession is something that will affect their field of work is a topic Chase and Klein agree on.

“I think it will affect the hotel part of my field,” Klein said. “I think it will also affect the restaurant business … more expensive restaurants in a negative way, but the mid-range, quick-service, fast-service foods will gain from it.”

Chase said, “Hotels, yeah. Restaurants, maybe some of the fine restaurants, the fine dining areas.”

However, Chase said she is currently searching for a banking job, a field which she sees as secure. “I think banking would be a really good area to get into. I think the banking area is probably more stable than any area,” she said.

Mike Mainella, a wildlife/fisheries management major with a minor in criminal justice, also graduates this December. Mainella both has a job and is searching for one.

“I am an assistant manager at HyVee,” he said, a position that he has held for nearly two years.

However, Mainella said he plans to find a job relating to his degree. “I’m going to start looking right away,” he said. “I’m pretty open. In my field there are many different types of jobs and positions that I like.”

Because of his current employment, Mainella’s job hunt is not as urgent as some.

“I’m just going to take it easy for awhile and look for jobs as they become available,” he said. “I am waiting for my fiancee to graduate, and I have everything working perfectly right now. I don’t want to mess anything up.”

Susan Fredrikson is an Employment Development Director at SDSU’s Career and Academic Planning [CAP] Center. While she does see a slight change in the job market, she expects students will be able to find employment.

“I think there is going to be a little bit of a change ? it may take a little bit longer [to find a job].”

She said currently employers are placing a lot of emphasis on internships.

Fredrikson also encourages students to think about the job finding process early.

“Students need to be thinking about this whole process earlier than they may realize,” she said, “rather than waiting until they’re at the point of graduation.”

However, Fredrikson also told procrastinators not to be discouraged.

“We still have been seeing some organizations advertising for full-time employees ? probably not quite as much as in the past few years ? it’s still a fairly decent job market. It’s certainly not a hopeless situation,” she said.

Fredrikson added that some areas of employment are actually increasing.

“There are a couple of areas doing better than they have in the past,” she said. For example: government. “Up to 30 percent of federal employees are retiring,” she said, noting the job offerings in that department.

Also within the government, “Since Sept. 11, some programs have expanded.

Those are some things that students may want to look at.”

Also improving are nonprofit organizations and security.

Fredrikson said though the markets are slowing down, she is confident students will be able to find jobs. “It might not be that a student will walk out with five offers to choose from, but there’s still opportunity,” she said.

“I think they should be prepared to work at it; expect to spend some time on it,” she said.

Fredrikson had further advice to offer students searching for jobs.

“Use the CAP Center,” she said. “We have several different areas that we can help in?making the choice of major, helping them identify employers they might eventually contact … We do a lot of individual assistance with students.”

She added that the CAP Center offers many services, including help with resumes, interviews, and writing letters.

She invites students to check out the CAP Center’s website for information about these services, as well as the multiple job fairs that are available. Most of these services are free.

Final advice that Fredrikson had to offer was the fact that when students are job hunting, they’re selling their skills to possible employers.

“Definitely it’s a sell,” she said. “[You have to] help the employer see what you have to offer, and that becomes even more important in a tight job market. You can’t expect employers to kind of dig it out of you.”

Students had a little bit of their own advice to add. The most common message: be flexible.

Klein’s willingness to follow a job helped her gain confidence in her search. “I knew the Pizza Ranch is growing greatly, so I wasn’t worried about finding a job within a corporation, even if I would have to move,” she said.

Mainella echoed the importance of flexibility.

“The problem is that a lot of students are stuck on working in one city, or state. They are not willing to move to another state,” he said.