The looming job market

Dec 042005
Authors: Vimal Patel

The job market for today's graduating seniors is ripe and growing steadily, said Brett Beal, associate director of Employer Relations at the CSU Career Center.

"It's definitely stronger," she said, comparing today's job market to three years ago. "Across industries and across the board in general, the market is increasing."

The current job market's growth is slow and steady, rather than the boom five years ago that eventually crashed in spring 2001.

The best piece of advice Beal gives to those who will graduate soon or, for that matter, all CSU students, is to visit the Career Center.

"We're free and we're good," she said. "(Students) don't have to be by themselves. We can help."

The Career Center has a numerous staff that can help students in the quest to land a job, Beal said. She also added the center provides several services, including teaching resume writing and interviewing skills.

Students who don't have technical skills and a glowing grade point average aren't necessarily at a great disadvantage.

Today's employers are looking for a variety of qualities in prospective entry-level employees. The ability to work well in a team and communicate is tops among them, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The association's fall 2005 list ranked "honesty and integrity" as second, while computer and technical skills, heavily desired during the tech boom, ranked in the bottom half of the list.

"In the world of work today, it's almost required that you can work in teams and communicate, especially with the global community we have," Beal said. "Those communication skills cannot be overlooked, regardless of what field you're in."

Although the tech industry is slowly picking up again, it's not nearly where it was before the tech bubble burst earlier this decade.

Beal said she'd rather not say what industries are the best to break into for college graduates, saying they're constantly changing.

"Follow your passions and the rest will follow," Beal said. "You'll have a greater chance for success if you can align interest, values and skills. You'll have a better chance for career happiness."

From 2002 to 2012, the software publishing industry is projected to have the highest rate of increase in employees, 68 percent. The Internet service provider and web portals industry is second, with a projected 64 percent increase.

Internships are one of the best ways to prepare for life outside of college, said JoAnn Cornell, a career counselor at the center.

"It's like test driving a career," she said. "The more the better, the more diverse the better."

Students are encouraged to seek the center's services as soon as possible, but graduating seniors who haven't done so aren't out of luck just yet. The center's services are available to students up to a year after they graduate CSU.

Another useful tool for students seeking jobs or internships is CareerRam, a job posting database on the Career Center Web site containing more than 1,000 postings as of Friday.

But no matter what the current job market is like, students must put forward the effort and believe in themselves if they are to succeed, Beal said.

"The biggest mistake that people make is having a self defeating attitude," she said. "You can't win if you don't play."

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