By JODI ORGIL
Eight semesters of schooling and a degree may not be enough anymore for some students to get a job in their field.
Students from all departments and majors are sooner or later faced with the decision of what to do and where to go after graduation. For those who decide to stay in the area, finding a job in their field can sometimes prove an ordeal.
Though some of the departments at BYU have job placement programs available to help students secure jobs after graduation, most of the departments lack programs and leave the students on their own to venture into the real world.
“We do have an internship program, but it is not in this area. We send our interns to New York,” Department of Design secretary Susan Lahargoue said. “The only kind of placement information we have for this area is if companies send us job information and we post or announce it. Other than that there is not much we can do.”
Like the Department of Design, the Department of Family Science lacks a placement program to help students get a job.
“Internship experience is available during senior year to help students get experience, but there is no placement or tracking program for the undergraduate students,” graduate secretary Sara Cline said.
The geography, psychology and mathematics departments all have similar situations.
Students staying in the area face the challenge of finding a job in a market flooded with college students competing for jobs and internships with little help from their departments.
Jeff Palmer, who graduated after the Winter 1995 Semester, decided to stay in the area only after he had secured a job.
“I originally decided to take a job in Oregon — one that my department helped me find. Then I went to the job board at BYU, and I saw something that I was interested in and that would give me better experience in my field,” Palmer said.
“There were still many things to consider,” he said. “The full-time job at BYU pays less, but there are several other benefits I had to consider. Being able to take classes and get the experience I really wanted helped me make the decision to stay.”
The Department of Business does have a placement program to help students find jobs. It was this program that secured him the job in Oregon, Palmer said.
Palmer had the opportunity to choose between more than one job offer and choose the location where he wanted to work. Students who have to stay in the area are not always as fortunate.
Kari Leslie graduated from BYU in psychology in December. Staying in the area was the only real option available at the time.
“I didn’t really have anywhere I could go, so I decided to stay and get a job and work here until I could find something else,” Leslie said.
But problems soon emerged.
“People would look at my resume and tell me I had too many qualifications for the job. Other times they said I needed a graduate degree before I could be considered for the job,” Leslie said.
Leslie was able to find a job, but it was not until almost four months after she graduated, and the job was not in her field of study.
“I am working at an instant check-cashing place. It is a fun job and has good benefits, but it has nothing to do with my degree in psychology,” she said.
Leslie’s situation is not unusual for students who decide to stay in Utah Valley. Local Chamber of Commerce members recognize many jobs available, but note they may not always fit the new graduate’s degree.
“There are several opportunities. The problem is they may not be in the areas (graduates) want or with the financial amounts they desire after graduating from college,” Orem Commerce member Steve Densley said.
Job Service also finds an increase in applications from new graduates after December, April and August of every year.
“We place most of the people we have come in; whether or not they get initially placed in the job of their choice is debatable,” Raymond McPherron said.
Job Service receives a listing of 40-45 new jobs every day, with 700 posted on any given day. These jobs range from secretarial work to construction work all the way to jobs that require advanced degrees.
Graduates who can fill only one position after they graduate are much harder to place in jobs of their field, McPherron said.
“I wouldn’t have chosen to stay in the area if I had to hunt for a job first,” Palmer said.
“I would have taken the job in Oregon before staying here and job hunting for months after I got my degree,” he said.
Situations turned in his favor, though. The job through BYU allowed him to stay in the area and work, preparing to go back to school and work on his master’s degree in Organizational Behavior.