With the country reaching its highest unemployment rate in 25 years and thousands of jobs being shed daily, many graduating seniors nationwide are worried about their post-college plans.
But students who came out for the Spring Career Fair Wednesday afternoon in the Marvin Center said they are optimistic they can find their way despite the economic downturn.
“The recession has definitely put more pressure on me to find a job,” senior Christine Megariotis said. “Coming to the job fair helps put my face with my résumé. I’m taking a proactive approach.”
The Career Center hosted representatives from 82 employers, ranging from Abercrombie & Fitch to Prudential Financial, and 24 government agencies including the FBI and the CIA. Full-time, part-time and internship positions were available.
For senior Annelisa Lindsay, the recession has made the possibility of a job in the federal government much more appealing.
“The recession has made considering law school difficult,” she said. “The government offers more job security than the private sector does now.”
Lindsay might be right. Forbes magazine recently named D.C. one of the top 10 cities for job growth in 2009. The report cited the city’s numerous governmental agencies, nonprofits, defense contractors, educational institutions and law firms as employers who can expect to expand despite the country’s current economic situation.
“The government’s hiring like crazy,” said Julie LeSuer, assistant director of the GW Career Center.
Representatives from the Army and the Peace Corps said they saw a rise in interest in their respective organizations this year.
“People are especially interested in gaining two years of practical experience given the current economic situation and President Obama’s passion for service,” said Jason Beach, a Peace Corps recruiter.
“VA loans and the GI Bill allow people who enlist and serve honorably the opportunity to buy a house or go to college,” added U.S. Army representative Sgt. Jeremy Blackwell.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics survey in December 2008 showed the D.C. metropolitan area has the second lowest unemployment of the 49 largest cities in the country.
LeSuer said the Career Fair was “only slightly” affected by the recession. Seven fewer employers registered for this fair than last spring’s, she said. About 700 students attended.
LeSuer praised the students who attended the fair as ready to meet employers and find a job.
“GW’s career fairs are different from [other universities],” she said. “Students here are expected to come looking professional and prepared. It’s more than exploratory. This is a true networking opportunity.”