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BU responds to job market slump

Recent Bradley graduate Dana Felix is having a tough time finding a job she wants.
She graduated in May 2008 with a degree in art and the intention of working in a gallery.
“I tried to get a job in an industry that was severely affected by the economy,” Felix said. “I tried my best. I sent my resume to different art galleries and it didn’t do anything. I just had to get a job that would pay the bills.”
Felix may not be alone, as companies that seek to hire Bradley students are being cautious in their hiring practices in response to economic downturn.
“Students can’t afford to be picky right now,” Jane Linnenburger, the executive director of the Smith Career Center, said. “They need to keep their minds open and be open to relocating, be accepting of the starting salary that’s offered. They need to be open to different career opportunities than they originally had hoped for.”
She said many companies are taking “wait-and-see” approaches.
“Some students have learned that their second interviews have been canceled, others have been told that everything is on hold for a while until the companies can see what the conditions look like,” Linnenburger said.
Senior marketing major Rachel Kunkel will graduate in May and said she is nervous about getting a job.
She said she’s looking for a job in market research, and she’s heard many companies have implemented hiring freezes.
“Right now I’ll just kind of take anything that I can get,” Kunkel said.
A couple weeks ago, Linnenburger met with the Employer Advisory Board, comprised of companies that recruit Bradley students and graduates. She said although none of the companies said they were planning anything “drastic,” others may be scaling down their numbers.
The companies on the Employer Advisory Board include Caterpillar, Accenture and Target Stores.
Linnenburger said companies are being careful in hiring many new people because of the effect that Y2K and Sept. 11, 2001, had on them.
“Employers look at the bottom line and they look at their head count and they’re making decisions right now about future training classes and based upon business projections,” she said.
Linnenburger said companies looking for new hires can be pickier because they have fewer job openings.
“They’re going to go for the very best candidates and the candidate that performs the best in the interview and the candidate who can sell themselves to the best of their ability,” she said.
In response to a slower job market, the SCC is providing short workshops for students including Tips for Great Phone Interviews, Top 5 Interview Questions and Job Market 101.
“We’ve never before had 30-minute workshops and we’ve never before had workshops on these very specific titles,” Linnenburger said.
Kunkel said the workshops may be helpful for students who aren’t good at interviewing.
She said she plans on attending some of the workshops to better understand what to expect at interviews.
Although companies are being cautious about hiring, Linnenburger said they will still attend job fairs on campus so they have people ready to fill positions when needed.
“Typically once business conditions start to improve, hiring ramps up quickly,” she said. “Right now we have employers signing up for our Feb. 4 job fair. It’s interesting to see they’re looking forward to the future and keeping a campus presence.”