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Job hunting assistance available to students despite poor economy

November 5, 2009

According to the National Association of College and Employers, the overall hiring for the class of 2010 graduates is expected to decrease by approximately 7 percent and the 2010 projected college hires specifically in the Midwest are expected to decrease by 3.2 percent.
Statistics such as these are leaving more students than ever fearing the process of finding a job after graduation, but there are opportunities for students to get career advice at UW-River Falls.

McKenna Pfeiffer, a career counselor and marketing supervisor of UWRF Career Services, believes that “those students that are getting internships, networking and utilizing staff and campus resources are faring better in the job market.”

According to Pfeiffer, students should start early by coming into career services to set up an appointment.

“We can help connect you to different employers, job shadowing opportunities and informational interviews,” she said.

Too often, the job search process becomes a challenge because students put it off until the day after graduation. Instead of making it an overwhelming process, students can take steps beforehand that will set them on their way come graduation.

One of these resources is the Hire-A-Falcon system that is specifically for UWRF students and alumni.

The service features a mentor network with 145 active mentors in a variety of different career areas. Seniors can upload a résumé to the network and the career services staff can do résumé referral, which means your résumé is sent to a company that has a job listing that fits the student’s criteria.
Other features include résumé critique and a job and internship board for companies and students.

When asked about the time it may take students to find a job after graduation, Pfeiffer said it depends on a few factors.

“These factors include, how much time did they devote to finding a job while in school? What experiences did they obtain? How much time did they devote to the right resources? Everyone is different. Often, graduates are not going to the right places or resources. Pick a resource that is right for you and devote the rest of the time to networking,” she said.

According to Pfeiffer, seven out of 10 jobs aren’t posted. It’s through networking that a student can find the hidden job market.

It was because of networking that UWRF graduate Helen Stoeckel said she found a job. 

“I graduated in December of 2006 with a major in speech communication. I was able to find a job by February of 2007, but it was not in my field. The way
I found my job was a reference from a friend,” Stoeckel said.

Others find that using online resources, such as Linkedin, are beneficial in the job search. Linkedin is a pro networking site that connects people. It is similar to Facebook, except one can job search and show off past professional experiences and previous jobs.

Derrick Williams, a UWRF graduate in journalism, used online resources to find the job he continues to occupy today. Williams graduated in May and managed to find work within five months.

“It didn’t take me too long to find a job at all. I was lucky. I was hired as a community editor for Thisweek Newspapers, a weekly newspaper chain in the south metro of the Twin Cities by October. I used a trade specific web site and database called journalismjobs.com to locate the job I have now. That said, I scoured want-ads, web sites like Career Builder and even sent unsolicited resumes and cover letters to media organizations that weren’t necessarily looking for new hires,” Williams said.

Those looking to prepare themselves can contact Career Services to set up an appointment with a career counselor.

Other opportunities include a Minnesota Job and Internship Fair in February. In April there is a nonprofit career fair at the University of Minnesota and on Nov. 10 at UWRF there is an etiquette dinner that teaches students professional dinner etiquette.