College Career Centers Help With Job Searches

By Staff

February 19, 2009

Many colleges and universities are offering resources to help students and alumni secure employment.

With unemployment soaring, MSNBC [from an article originally located at] reports that officials from Mississippi College have seen an increase in the number of students and alumni utilizing the Career Services Office to look for jobs.

"We really try to keep a positive outlook despite what's going on," noted Karen Lindsey-Lloyd, career services director, in the article. "We know it's tough, but there are jobs available and there are things you can do to make yourself stand out in this economy and in this market."

The New York Times reports that New York University recently offered a seminar called "Recession-Proof Your Job Search." During the presentation, Trudy G. Steinfeld, executive director of the school's Wasserman Center for Career Development, presented strategies for finding jobs.

She advised students to focus on fields in which sales are up, or on services or products that people will continue to use, like alcohol and beverages. She also recommended they consider historically recession-proof fields such as beauty, utilities and healthcare, where jobs can also be found in finance, administration and marketing.

"A big part of our job is giving students hope," Larry Routh, director of career services at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, told the Times. "We try to emphasize who is still hiring."

Last fall, he ran ads in the campus newspaper indicating that more than 1,300 jobs and internships were posted in the career services system. His office also ran workshops, including one which helped students apply for federal government jobs.

Perhaps most troubling, notes The Dallas Morning News, is the number of alumni who are now seeking employment through college career services. The University of North Texas' career center reports a record number of calls from alumni, including those who have recently been laid off and others who fear they are about to lose their jobs.

At the undergraduate career office of Southern Methodist University, alumni calls were reported to have jumped 40 percent last semester over the fall of 2008. What's more, say officials, the calls tend to be from alumni older than in the past, including some graduates from the mid-1970s.

A January event at UNT offering part-time jobs - with half open only to students - drew an astonishing 700 attendees, including a significant number of alumni and senior-class members. Previously, the event had drawn 250 people.

College career counselors are adding workshops and doing their best to assist students and lure employers. But John Challenger, CEO of the executive outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, noted in The Dallas Morning News that there's a limit to how much schools can help.

"There's only so much you can do," he said, "if the jobs aren't there."

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