Senior Mike Bailey is willing to move to Canada if it means getting a job in the design field.
Bailey,a mechanical engineering major at Ohio State University,said the worsening job market means he'd move just about anywhere for employment.
“If it comes down to it,I'll take any design job,” he said.
Bailey's sent his resume to five companies,but hasn't heard back from any of them.
He attended his school's career expo last month,but most of the companies said they weren't actively hiring.
“It's a big scary deal,” he said. “Just about everybody I know is looking for a job.”
The National Association of Colleges and Employers released a survey in August that reported employers were expecting to hire 19.7 percent fewer new college graduates. College hiring appeared to be weakest in the West,where employers there were expecting college hiring cuts of almost 44.8 percent,the survey said.
And that was before the Sept.11 terrorist attacks added an element of uncertainty to an already unsteady economy.
Companies have already announced thousands of layoffs and many more are anticipating eventual cuts.
Bailey said he's had recruiters tell him that their companies don't have a hiring freeze – yet.
And with fewer jobs,comes more competition among graduates.
At the career fair,Bailey said he saw students who had graduated last year,but were still looking for job.
“It makes you a little more nervous when you walk into that interview to know all that's riding on it and who you're up against,” he said.
Mark Finger,vice president of human resources at Nation Instruments in Texas,heads up his company's college recruiting program.
National Instruments hired 220 students last year,but he expects that number to drop to between 100 and 175 college hires this year.
He said he estimated 30 percent less participation by companies at career fairs. And of the companies that do attend,another 30 percent of those are there just for show,not because they're actually hiring.
“This is probably the toughest market in eight to 10 years,” Finger said. “It's been a wonderful ride for students over the last several years,but now they're going to have to work a lot harder to find a job.”
Finger said the events of Sept. 11 probably would not affect college recruiting directly. But they could have a domino effect. If the attacks lead to a recession in the economy,the job market for college grads will continue to become more competitive.
At Washington State University,Interim Director Loni Dunlap said her school's October career fair did see a drop in participation by recruiters.
Normally,the fall career fair,which is cosponsored by the University of Idaho,hosts between 180 and 200 recruiters. This year,around 160 recruiters participated.
Most of the companies that either cancelled or didn't show were industries like airlines and hospitality which were affected by last month's attacks.
Many of the companies that attended the fair were there not to actively recruit,but to maintain visibility on campus and foster a relationship between students,Dunlap said.
On-campus interviews more accurately reflect the number of companies that are actually hiring,but Dunlap said she's seen a decrease in interviews these this year,especially within the hospitality industry.
Because of the tightened job market,seniors realize they can't afford to procrastinate on a job search.
Already,counselors at Washington State University have seen an increase in the number of students who drop in to have to their resume reviewed and the number of students who are requesting career counseling appointments.
“Students are really understanding that they need to start early,” she said. “I think there's concern for the seniors,but they're also taking action about knowing their options and making decisions.”
One option many students are considering is attending graduate school.
Peter Syverson,vice president for research with the Council of Graduate Schools,said graduate school enrollment tends to reflect the job market.
As unemployment rises,so does graduate school enrollment.
Attending graduate school allows students to wait out the market and also have new and better credentials when they do apply for a job,Syverson said.
Because of application deadlines and prerequisites,Syverson said students should start thinking seriously about graduate school now.
Interested students should talk to faculty members and visit the schools they're considering,he said.
“There's lots of information out there,but students have to seek it out,” he said.
Tips for finding a job:
· Start early.
· Take advantage of any opportunity to network with companies. Career fair and on-campus interviews are two ways to meet recruiters.
· Look for jobs that may be outside your particular major.
· Start thinking of contacts you have with companies. Contacts could be friends,family members,professors or alumni.
· Review basic interview skills and prepare answers for common questions.
· Research companies and find out what type of employee they're looking for.
· Try to relate your skills and experiences to the specific needs of prospective companies. Be clear about what you can offer an employer.
· Be open to relocating. Job markets for specific careers can vary by region.
Register with your school's career center.