BYU seniors look at alternative methods for job hunting

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    By Brittany Worton

    After graduating in April, college seniors are likely to face the worst job market in 15 years.

    With unemployment rising and the effects of the recession being felt, 2009 graduates are looking at difficult times in the work force.

    “The generation Y-ers were told that they would be the next savior of the employment world and that employers would be flocking to them to offer them work,” said Andy Headworth, owner of a company that specializes in recruiting consulting. “They weren”t just expecting the one job offer; they were expecting multiple offers with excellent salaries to choose from.”

    Companies have had to make adjustments to their hiring projections with the onset of the recession.

    According to National Association of Colleges and Employers, projected hiring for the class of 2009 is only slightly higher than 2008 levels. In October, employers said they planned to hire just 1.3 percent more graduates in 2009 than they hired this year.

    A poll conducted by the research firm Universum concluded that 81 percent of graduates surveyed said the crisis on Wall Street is at least minimally affecting their job outlook.

    “Job opportunities have always been a stress for graduates,” said Annie Stevens, a senior graduating in art history. “Now with the market the way it is, there is added pressure.”

    With the rise in unemployment, graduates have to look outside the box to find ways to become branded and marketable.

    Career placement specialists are recommending students take internships to increase experience and boost competitiveness.

    “Look into internships to gain familiarity with a company,” said Mark Hale, a tax partner at Hawkins Cloward and Simister, involved in recruiting efforts. “Experience is a valuable thing right now to companies.”

    Flexibility in location is also encouraged to help students be more marketable.

    “If you are open and not opposed to moving, you are definitely more marketable,” Hale said. “Students should be establishing ties in different areas to help solidify job opportunities.”

    Career placement specialists also encourage graduates to take other measures such as social networking, Web pages, career fairs and counseling centers.

    “Networking is still the No. 1 method which will introduce new hires to a company,” said Shweta Khare, an associate certified career coach, on her Web site. “It is also advisable to search online for the best available positions and careers that inspire you the most.”

    Some graduates have adjusted to the idea of looking outside the traditional route.

    “I am a lot more open to a wide range of opportunities that may fit my experience and skills,” said Lauren Taft, a senior graduating in biology. “I am a lot more willing to look into different job choices for the time being.”

    With Utah”s unemployment rate increasing from 2.7 percent in 2007 to 3.7 percent, the need to adapt to the marketplace has never been more pressing.

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