It’s the time of year when most seniors are getting ready to turn their tassels. But amidst the pomp and circumstance lies a haunting dark cloud – the real world. As frighteningly daunting as it may be, life can be uncertain after walking across the stage without a job prospect.
Sheila Curran, the co-author of ‘Smart Moves for Liberal Arts Grads: Finding a Path to Your Perfect Career’ said graduates shouldn’t panic if they are leaving college without a clear vision of what to do next. Right out of school, it’s more important for a graduate to figure out who he or she is than to immediately embark on a regimented career path.
While some students look to graduate school as an option, other graduates will continue to pound the pavement in search of their career. Christina Price, a 22-year-old English education student from Grand Rapids, Mich. is already feeling the pressures of the real world without a prospective job. “I am definitely feeling the pressure,” said Price. “I’ve been in school for five years and I have a child to take care of.” Though Price has been student teaching and substituting, she has no current job offers but is still actively looking. “If I don’t find a job, I will work outside the teaching profession,” Price said. “But I have to have a job.” Though the future may look bleak for graduates without prospective jobs or job offers, there is still hope for employment. In the Job Outlook 2007 report, there will be a projected 17.4 percent increase in the number of new college graduates that employers will hire this year compared to 2006, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Cairo Carr, a 22-year-old accounting student from Birmingham, Ala. will turn his tassel with confidence as he receives his MBA. After graduation, Carr will begin his career at KPMG, an accounting firm in Atlanta. “Knowing that I have a job has taken a lot of pressure off,” said Carr. “I can focus on my studies and I don’t have to wonder what I’m going to do after graduation.” While most students are looking for a single job, Tomara Johnson, a 23-year-old Houston, Texas native will have to choose between three companies when she receives her M.B.A. Johnson will start her career in either the auditing department of KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, or Georgia Pacific. “I am feeling some pressure,” Johnson said. “But it’s more on which company to choose.”For students who face the dilemma of choosing between job offers, one should consider what is in their best interest. “You should ask yourself is this something you can see yourself doing for a long time and will it make you happy,” said Carr. Prior planning can play a major role in the quest to find a job. Carr completed five internships and was offered a position in August 2006. “Compete for and complete as many internships as you can,” Carr said. “Don’t wait till the last minute.” Johnson also planned ahead by going to career fairs and completing internships to receive her job offers. “I visited the offices to see the environment and how they interact with the clients,” said Johnson. The best way to avoid being jobless at graduation is to start early. “Know what you want,” said Johnson. “You don’t want to graduate without a job.”