When Erin Krubeck graduated last May, the honor roll marketing major hadn’t received any job offers.
“Searching for a job you know you’re not only one of a million college graduates, you’re one of those graduates, plus all those people who have gotten laid off and have more experience,” Krubeck said. “Not only is it difficult to get an interview, the quality of jobs wasn’t as high.”
Although job placement analysis for 2009 Bradley graduates is not complete, Executive Director for the Smith Career Center Jane Linnenburger said she expects it to be lower than the 94 percent of 2008 graduates who had jobs last January.
The Smith Career Center tracks graduates’ employment by sending out electronic and hard copy surveys immediately and six months after graduation, as well as reaching out to them by telephone.
“The downturn of the economy had a tremendous impact on the hiring of new college graduates,” Linnenburger said. “Last year, the employers reacted very quickly – faster than they had reacted in previous economic downturns.”
Many students had job offers rescinded and interviews cancelled, however, another aspect of the industry is something called underemployment, Linnenburger said.
“For some 2009 grads who are employed, they may not be in the positions they had hoped for, but these positions may help them launch a career,” she said.
Although Krubeck is currently a full-time employee for Whitewave Foods, she is working as a contractor.
“Right now, instead of hiring people, where you have to pay them not only salary but benefits, people are hiring contractors,” she said. “You only have to pay them the hours they work so it’s not as much of a financial burden.”
When Krubeck’s contract is up at the end of the year, she said she hopes to be offered a position with benefits, however there is a chance she will have to re-enter the job search.
She said going through a recruiter is a great way to find a job, but Linnenburger said there is a chance recruiters will be less visible this year.
“When hiring needs are reduced there isn’t a need to recruit as actively on college campuses,” she said. “Companies are able to gain access to candidates through the Internet.”
Linnenburger also said 2009 graduates had a more difficult time finding jobs because they were competing against graduates from the few years before who lost their jobs because of cutbacks.
To help jobless graduates from the classes of 2006 through 2009, the Your Young Alumni Association and Smith Career Center hosted the event, The Hidden Job Market: Using social networking and other effective strategies to find job opportunities, in August.
“When times are tough like this, networking can be one of the most effective tools,” Linnenburger said.
Some companies are also using social networking Web sites to reach out to prospective employees. For example, Caterpillar is posting job openings on its Facebook and Twitter.
The fall job and internship fair is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and employers are still signing up to participate – even those that don’t know if they will be hiring 2010 graduates.
“So many employers are in a wait and see mode,” Linnenburger said. “History has shown us that in two to three months opportunities could open up and those employers that were at the job fair and able to meet prospective candidates would have a pool to go to.”
The areas that seem to have the most job opportunities at this time are sales and management training programs, which are appropriate for any major, Linnenburger said.