GW’s Career Center reports that job market is tighter now than past years, and many GW seniors said they are feeling the pinch as they continue with less than successful job searches.
“It’s supply and demand,” said Jonathan Ferguson, assistant director for Career Services in the Career Center. “The economy isn’t great, and there aren’t a lot of jobs offered.”
Ferguson said few students are panicking, even as the job market gets worse.
The national unemployment rate hit a seven-year high in December at 5.8 percent, which translates to more than 8 million unemployed Americans, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
Kendra Krolikowski, a senior in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, said she is having a hard time finding job openings as graduation approaches.
“The friends that I know who have been actively searching for jobs have found difficulty in securing one,” she said.
GW seniors said they are adjusting their plans to a suffering U.S. economy and few forecasts for immediate improvement.
Senior Brooke Gosin, a journalism major, said she does not plan to explore the job market anytime soon.
“I’m not looking for a job right now. I’m too scared,” Gosin said.
She said she plans to study abroad in Spain this summer and improve her Spanish skills.
“Right now is play time,” she said.
Some students are considering graduate school, while others are taking a year off to study abroad or travel.
Krolikowski said she plans to take a year off and then attend law school.
“I am not sure what I want to do during that year, but I would like to intern at a law firm,” she said.
Ferguson said he sees a larger number of seniors than normal set to continue education at graduate schools.
“I think I’m ready for medical school,” said senior Meredith Wong, a biology major. “It would be hard to get back into school after a break.”
Wong said some of her friends found employers who have agreed to help pay for their graduate school tuition.
Many seniors said they will search for job openings with the federal government.
Senior Nicholas Bronni works at the Federal Trade Commission and is currently applying for a job at the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.
“Most of my close friends work for government agencies because that’s what they are interested in,” he said. Bronni said he is confident he will find work because he has extensive Capitol Hill experience.
“The job market has been very competitive as a result of the recession, and after Sept. 11 it got challenging,” said John Proctor, who graduated last December.
Proctor, who works for a political consulting firm in Virginia, said he got a job based on his internship experience.
“I started this unpaid internship my junior year, and when I was ready to graduate they offered me a salary job,” he said.
Ferguson said students should not depend on past work experience because a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers survey ranked experience 10tt on a 10-point scale of most important skills employers seek.
“It is the skill sets that look most appealing to employers,” Ferguson said.
Communication, teamwork and analytical skills are listed as the most important attributes, he said.
Career counselors said they encourage students to start job searches early their senior year because the market tightens as more students begin the job-search process.
Ferguson said investment organizations like Lehman Brothers, Accenture and Andersen Accounting along with telecommunications giant Verizon hired the most GW students in recent years.
He said many students also pursue jobs in the federal government.
Proctor and Ferguson both agree that being pro-active in a job search is the best way to find success with today’s job market.
“Start researching now,” Ferguson said. “It doesn’t hurt networking and getting your name out there.”
Ferguson said the Career Center provides consulting, workshops, mock interviews and on-campus recruiting for all students.
The Career Center will hold a Career Fair on March 26 in the Smith Center.