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Upcoming graduates fear life after college

Contributing Writer

Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 23:09

Once upon a time, a college degree guaranteed you a job.

Although the National Association of Colleges and Employers predicts a 5.3 percent increase in job offers for new graduates, the Research Institute for Social and Economic Policy, part of the Center for Labor Research and Studies at Florida International University, reports that employment in Florida will not be improving anytime soon.

While an estimated 3,000 students will graduate from UCF this December, according to the registrar's office, finding employment may seem like a daunting task with the current job market.

"Honestly, the job market scares me" said Krystina Bennett, who is graduating in December with a degree in English. "With so many people getting laid off or unable to find jobs, I doubt that I'll be able to make it after graduation."

Bennett's sentiments were shared with another graduate, Madison Bernath, who is also graduating with a degree in English.

"I'm afraid of not being able to find a job when I graduate," said Bernath. "The fact that I have no experience at all is starting to make my skin itch."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that 15.3 million jobs will be added by 2018. While that number gives many seeking employment hope, the growth of the jobs that are available will not be evenly distributed.

According to the labor statistics, many college graduates are finding jobs that do not require bachelor's degrees. After four years of college, and countless student loans, that statistic can be alarming.

"The job market is not getting better as quickly as we would have hoped," said Dr. William Blank, director of career development at UCF. "Everyone is weary of the economy. It's holding back employers from spending money."

Despite the outlook on the economy, there are those who are still optimistic.

"What I am putting as my prime focus, however, is graduate school," said Bernath. "I am hoping that by the time I get my doctorate, the job market will be straightened out."

With the bleak job market, many graduates are also turning to internships. While an internship does not guarantee employment, it can open doors and lead to more job opportunities.  

"What students need to realize is that education alone won't cut it," said Blank. Employers want to see internships, externships and volunteer work as well."

Networking and finding internships while in college have become key components in today's highly competitive job market.

"I am hoping to land an internship next week," said Bennett. "Hopefully that will help me land a job in publishing."

As students finish their last semester at UCF in preparation for the real world, certain resources at can make this process a lot smoother.

The Career Services department at UCF helps to provide students with the guidance that they will need as they embark on life after college. Through workshops and campus job fairs, they also help students to make effective career and academic decisions.

Career Services also has an employment preparation conference. This is an opportunity for employers to help students prepare for job fairs and how they can enhance their opportunities.

The department also holds a career expo every year. The Fall 2010 Career Expo will be held on Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the UCF Arena. Approximately 100 to 120 employers, both local and national, will be on hand.

Another source for students is Knightlink, an online database, which helps students develop high quality resumes that they then load into a software program, where potential employers can access those that are a good fit for their company.

Despite the constant reminders of an uncertain job market, resources like Knightlink and Blank give hope to the fall semester's graduating class as they prepare to toss their cap in the air.

"Start early," said Blank. "Develop a clear understanding of what you would like to do professionally and set realistic expectations as far as looking for employment."




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