Spring graduates should begin job search now

During the Spring 2005 semester, The Famuan will feature a Writer’s Journal; a reoccurring series aimed at telling the stories of the people behind the news. The stories which are scheduled to run once a week will offer insight into the ways in which international, national and local news affect the citizens of Tallahassee and students of Florida A&M University. These human interest stories will give readers a glimpse into the every day concerns, struggles and triumphs of our community.

After graduation, the race is on to get to the top companies, with the highest pay in the best location. However, the job market is crawling with fierce competition. But high competition is not the only condition of the job market.

Roughly eight million Americans are unemployed. A person is labeled unemployed when he or she is willing, able and currently seeking to find work.

In an effort to assist its graduates, Florida A&M University has explored the differences in the job market’s condition for students graduating in the Fall as opposed to students graduating in the Spring.

“There are very little differences,” Delores Dean, director of the Career Center and University Development, located at the Student Union Plaza said.

“Back in the Spring, there may have been less jobs, but there is a slight increase in jobs in the Fall now,” Dean said.

In pursuit of the right job, conditions in the job market may vary for Fall and Spring graduates. In most situations, there are advantages and disadvantages.

“[Fall graduates] got approximately two semesters to look for a job, a longer period to find more options and get first picks,” Dean said.

“There are more people graduating in the spring time.”

Some spring graduates are prepared and layered with strategies in attacking the job market in the most efficient way.

“There’s certain things that I’ve done and still do to prepare myself while in the Masters program,” said Ann Jones, 24, a graduate administration and community development student from Winter Haven. Jones will be graduating in the spring.

“Things like the fact that it’s not only necessary but mandatory to go out and network and intern. You’ve got to market yourself early,” Jones said.

Creatively, Jones plans to extend her education to a Doctorate’s degree and later, establish a domestic violence education center and shelter.

While many students want to snare an exciting and lucrative position upon graduation, if they’re not ready, the only thing they’ll snare is a place in the unemployment line.

With that in mind, some students may have other plans lined up after matriculation.

“I don’t want to jump right into law school immediately after graduation,” said Kevin Grant, 24, a senior Political Science student from Brooklyn, New York. Grant will be graduating in the fall of 2005.

“I actually want to follow up on a personal goal, like getting myself affiliated with management of the national football league.”

Whatever your plans are, clearly we need to be prepared. Entering into the job market in the spring will involve the challenge of competing with millions of other recent graduates, in what will be a more competitive spring/summer “recent graduate market.”

“See the advantage is, in the fall, most of the jobs are restored because of the new fiscal year that starts on October 1,” Grant said.

“This opens up the job market for those who graduate two months later as oppose to those graduating six months later. Basically, it’s first come first serve.”

Since August 2003, our economy has been witness to hurdles of severe layoffs, plant closings and overseas relocations for white and blue-collar jobs.

Jones says, however, through persistence and preparedness those hurdles can be cleared.

“You’ve got to walk a fine line,” Jones said.

“Do everything with excellence. Especially in a small town, there’s no room for mistakes there. Work for someone for free.”

Jones said volunteering is the way to get in, you’ve got to be there when opportunity presents itself.

According to Dean, some of the hot markets would be health care insurance, pharmacy, teaching, computer engineering, sales and business.

The odds weigh in so many different ways, what’s the key element to successfully finding your way through the shuffle?

“I believe it’s how marketable your skills are as oppose to when you graduate.” Jones said.

“On one scale, it could be our abilities and skills. On the other scale, it could possibly be our attitude and willingness.”

“No matter what your sequence or classification, it depends on a students’ aggressiveness and persistence,” Dean said.

Waiting around, taking a break from school, and wanting your “dream job” to fall from the sky, sets students further behind and in an unpleasant situation.

“If you’re out looking, doing research, and having hard interviews, there should be no problem with finding the job you want. The earlier you take advantage, the better.”