A Brave New World for College Grads: Hunting Down a Job in a Tough Economy

by February 17, 2009

Unfortunately, in an economy like today’s, Matthew Brink, director of Career Development at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, has no secret tricks for landing a job. “It’s all about using the tried and true tactics for job hunting, but giving the process more time and effort,” he says.

Those tactics, according to Brink, include networking, targeting your job search, and responding to postings.

“We’re telling students the same things we’ve always told them: start early, share you resume with the career services office, attend the many networking events our office hosts throughout the year.”

Brink has the numbers to prove he’s not just blowing smoke. Surveys conducted by the University’s Career Development Center consistently show that graduates who make use of their services land jobs sooner and make more money. In 2008 alone, graduates who sought the help of the Center while at SJU are making nearly $12,000 more annually compared to those who went at it alone.

Brink says the first of those “tried and true tactics” he preaches about every year, networking, is especially critical in today’s market. Along with downsizing comes the shrinking of human resources staff and recruiters.

“We see companies beginning to limit their job postings as a cost savings,” he explains. “They move from marketing to gatekeeping. Students who leverage their contacts with alumni may be able to get on the inside track.”

“What job –seeking college grads may need to consider in this climate is compromise,” Brink adds. “If the goal is to sell pharmaceuticals, I say try selling other consumer goods like food or air conditioners, and sell them well. If the goal is to work for a Big Four accounting firm, consider a smaller one until the economy rebounds.”

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