U of M grads struggle to find jobs – National survey: fewer than one in five 2009 grads have jobs

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Annie Snider, a spring 2009 graduate, is without a job, even after applying for dozens of positions during the last few months.

Snider, a graduate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, said she has been applying to television and radio stations since March with no job offers, despite having interned for a year at KS95. She said she continues to apply for two or three news jobs every day, keeping in mind the broadcast industry is conducting massive layoffs.

“From what my teachers have told me at the ‘J-school,’ you just have to be persistent and get your name out there,” Snider said. “You can’t stop applying, because hopefully something is going to come around.”

Snider isn’t alone in her prolonged job search. The Class of 2009 has fewer job offers than the Class of 2008. According to the 2009 Student Survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, only 19.7 percent of graduates who applied for a job this year have one. That number was 26 percent in 2008 and 51 percent in 2007.

Even knowing the majority of graduates are in a similar situation, Snider said she is already starting to get worried about paying back her loans and is anxious to be able to move out on her own.

“It’s hard when you don’t have a job,” she said. “I don’t even have a means of affording my own place.”

The University is offering opportunities for students to improve their job searching skills. Today at 9:30 a.m., the University will hold a workshop called, “You’ve Graduated: What Now?” for graduates still looking for work.

When registration closed on Monday, more than 80 students had signed up for the first-ever workshop, the event’s coordinator Meaghan VanderSanden said. The workshop is a collaboration between all the Career Services offices on the University’s Twin Cities campus.

According to the Career and Community Learning Center Website, the workshop will focus on how to network with possible employers, how to impress during job interviews, how to write an effective resume, and how to find alternative job options like AmeriCorps and Teach for America.

In today’s challenging job search climate, these alternative job options are gaining popularity. Teach for America recruits top college grads to commit to two years teaching in low income communities . This gives graduates work experience and helps to improve education for students in urban and rural public schools.

The organization had 35,000 applicants for the 2009 teaching positions, spokesman Trevor Stutz said. The 42 percent increase over last year set a record for the organization.

“Now more than ever, people are looking to make a difference right out of college,” he said.

Public service might be the final career route for some participants in the program, Stutz said. For others, the personal and professional development that comes from the experience might lead to better employability in other fields.

“Public service is a good pathway into job opportunity,” Stutz said.

Wynne Reece, a 2009 graduate from the College of Education and Human Development said she plans to take a year off from working to take continuing education courses and travel because of the bad job market.

“It’s impossible to find a job right now and I’d be bored out of my mind otherwise,” she said. “My best advice would be to do volunteer work or find an unpaid internship. Even though it’s unpaid you’ll build your resume and gain experience in the field.”

But would it be nice to get paid?

“Oh, yeah,” she said.

VanderSanden said she advises recent graduates to “take advantage of resources available on campus through their career offices to help with the job search.”

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