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Local college grads hopeful as they enter uncertain job market

Posted on May 9, 2011
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BRIDGEWATER — Rebecca Erickson of Taunton, who will graduate from Bridgewater State University on Saturday, has already had at least two job interviews – somewhat rare for a college grad in a still sluggish economy.

“I’d say the (job) market is slightly better, but not at the levels we saw it three or four years ago,” said Heather Heerman, director of career services at Stonehill College in Easton.

The Class of 2011 will depart college and university campuses after commencement ceremonies this month – and some will be looking to launch their careers while others plan to attend graduate school to hone their skills and wait for employment opportunities to open up.

“I am going to take a year off in hopes that the market will get better, and I might attend graduate school,” said Nada Bourji of West Roxbury, a senior at Stonehill College in Easton.

There has been an 18.8 percent increase in graduate school applicants because of the failing economy, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“I plan to graduate with my major in English and minor in psychology. Then I’ll go to Curry College for my master’s degree,” said Sarah Hale of Braintree, a senior at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater.

Still, most college grads will be entering the job market – hoping they can land a position in their field or at least get their foot in the door at a company with future prospects.

“With the tight economy, students should give themselves a lot of options and be open to alternatives, you’re not always going to get that dream job right away,” said Laurent Troland, recruitment coordinator at Bridgewater State University.

More jobs seem to be opening up. The U.S. economy added 244,000 jobs in April, and while the jobless rate is 9 percent overall, it’s 4.5 percent for those with college degrees.

Internships are key to landing jobs, experts and students said.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have three internships throughout college all in the field of criminal justice. After graduation, I am moving back to my hometown in Albany, N.Y., to pursue a temporary position with the New York state troopers,” said Amanda Stopera of Albany, N.Y., a senior at Stonehill College in Easton.

And networking is another key aspect in the hunt for a job.

“I work at a restaurant right now and, through my connections there, I may be able to move up to a management position at a new venue,” said Jessica Pires of Taunton, a senior at Bridgewater State University.

Some graduates will have an upper-hand because of their college majors.

“My sense is that those grads in economics are getting interviews and job placements better than in the past two years,” said Robert Rosenthal, professor and chair of the economics department at Stonehill College.

Elementary school teachers, accountants, computer system engineers and analysts, construction managers, and market research analysts have the most job openings, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Accounting and computer science majors have withstood the downturn in the economy, they were not hit hard,” said Heerman.

No matter what the major, students need to do their research, make connections and be ambitious, said Heerman.

“I did an internship that helped me to realize marketing is not for me. I’m more interested in business management, sales and recruiting,” said Erickson.

08 May 2011

Janina Todesca

http://www.enterprisenews.com/business/x1036464677/Local-college-grads-hopeful-as-they-enter-an-uncertain-job-market

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