for the wary job hunter
All signs point toward a tightening job market for college graduates.
How is CAPS easing the stress?
have changed yet again in campus recruiting. After a five-year
hiring upswing, many firms-particularly in consulting and financial
services-have edged away from their storm-the-campus-in-fall,
sign-new-hires-by-winter-break recruiting strategy, notes Mark
Gasche, associate director of recruiting in Career and Placement
Services. "Students whose hands I'd ordinarily be shaking
in December, wishing them luck in their new jobs, are still
in our offices this January," he says.
undergrads are not immune to the economic downturn that began
in January 2001, only to be hastened by September 11. But, says
Marlene Richman, associate director of career counseling, "I'm
not feeling a sense of panic. I'm feeling a sense of purposefulness.
Students aren't shaken. They realize they need to look more
broadly and think about what is available to them."
staff emphasize that plenty of options exist beyond the now
"nonexistent" consulting or I-banking route, says
Richman. Job sectors such as teaching, nonprofits, government,
biotechnology, and health services are in a hiring boom. Both
the CIA and the National Security Agency have ramped up recruiting.
attendance has been high at CAPS seminars on short-term options,
including Americorps, Teach for America, several conservation
programs, and the Peace Corps. "These are all good ways
to spend some time and then come back into the job market, where
companies respect these experiences," Richman notes.
students' most important lesson, says Gasche, is that preparation
is more important now than ever. For the second year running
CAPS held an October "kickoff" for fourth-years, where
over 500 students learned job-hunting strategies. Programs on
the "nitty gritty" of job searches-writing cover letters
and résumés, video-taping mock interviews for
critiques by CAPS staff, participating in interview practice
clinics with other job seekers, preparing for second interviews
and job offers-are in increasing demand, says Richman. CAPS
also asks recruiters to submit feedback forms on candidates,
so students can learn from mistakes.
inaugural autumn job fair featured 45 employers, and upcoming
months will bring the annual on-campus winter job fair, as well
as two, month-long virtual job fairs: the Ivy Plus and Hire
Big Ten Plus for both full-time jobs and internships. The virtual
fairs attract small- to medium-sized employers that may not
have the budget to send recruiters to campuses. And April will
bring the first University-wide nonprofit job fair.
some ways, says Gasche, the tightening job market is a blessing
in disguise. Landing a high-paying job in consulting or I-banking
has almost been too easy, so "it became something people
headed toward without giving a whole lot of thought to why.
Now our students really have a sense that those are just two
small options in the workforce."