College students set to graduate into incredible job market


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Photo by Edwin Gano |

There is good news for college students about to graduate — this coming academic year is expected to open 15 percent more employment opportunities for graduate students.

Shajjad Khondaker, a School of Engineering senior, feels the job market is competitive. He said the increase in the number of jobs depends on the economy. 

“I am skeptical about finding a job, but being an engineering major opens up opportunities to work in different fields not specifically engineering related," Khondaker said.

The fast pace of hiring is due to the strong growth in the corporate sector since recession, according to a report by Michigan State University and published in Bloomberg Business. The huge growth is making employers search for talented students.

Khondaker said that going to the Mega Career Fair organized by University Career Services at Rutgers was very beneficial.

“The Career Services at Rutgers are very helpful. They are present on Busch and College Avenue campuses. They have walk in hours and help with everything from preparing for interviews, reviewing resumes, discussing opportunities, et cetera,” Khondaker said.

Khondaker gave advice for getting an interview and the qualities companies look for in a candidate.

“I think networking and connections are very important, work experience in the past is very crucial and that first impression counts,” he said.

He said the career fairs give an excellent opportunity to meet with employers, market your skills and gain experience.

"I almost got an on-the-spot interview with L’Oréal but their GPA requirement for engineering students was very high,” Khondaker said.

Valarie Hudson, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, has very little expectations from the job market.

“I have already been searching, and it’s very hard. I feel shaky about being in the market afterward,” Hudson said.

She said she has an English degree, but her loans are immense, and she might have to return or become more qualified.

Valarie said she is a hard worker and a good employee, but she is going into the market with tens of thousands of others vying for the jobs. She hopes her credentials land her a job. 

“All this stress, experiences, they have to mean something. I haven’t started going to the Career Services but I will make an appointment as soon as I can,” Hudson said.

According to the University Career Services, 8,354 students (Graduates and Undergraduates) have graduated from Rutgers in 2014.

The fields that pay the most money are usually pharmacist positions that offer six-figure salaries, from $100 to $120 thousand dollars, and computer-related fields, including computer engineering, database management and computer science, said William Jones, University Career Services director of operations and strategic initiatives.

“Students have different competing values. For some students it is about making money while for others it is finding a work-life balance. For example, you can be an investment banker making lots of money but working 85 hours per week,” Jones said.

He said students might want to earn a degree in an educational field but want to make more money than a teacher, like a principal. 

"We help students find ways to make money with what they like to do,” Jones said. 

Jones said the University Career Services offers a variety of services that includes recruiting services.

“Career fairs are organized with 700 employers on campus every year and we have the on-campus-interview program where employers take interviews in Busch campus, providing students a more comfortable setting as they are used to the campus. Last year about 4000 interviews were conducted on campus,” Jones said.

CareerKnight, run by Career Services, is a virtual career center with about 14,000 job postings available for students to apply to, he said. 

Jones said Career Services are not only for juniors or seniors but also for first-year students, sophomores and transfers. They aim to help students prepare for life during and after college.

“We help students find what they are interested in, figure out a plan and with each semester (and) make a step toward their goal. Like applying for internships as a sophomore, confirming your assumptions about you major as a junior and opening up more choices for yourself as a senior," he said. 

The University has about 80 percent post-graduation placement rate which includes graduate schools and jobs, Jones said.  

“The job market is competitive, but our students are competing well as seen in a national data. According to Homeroom, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education, the University comes under top 15 schools with high salaries, five years after graduation,”Jones said.

He said students need to work hard. Along with academic credentials, work experience plays an important role. Students need to gain experience before they graduate.

Jones advises students to come to Career Services. They have career development specialists and free assessments available to help students decide what major will be the perfect fit. 

"We can help you find part time work, co-op positions, internships, research and more. We can assist you in articulating the skills you learn, through resume reviews, practice interviews, advising and networking opportunities,” Jones said.


Chinmoyi Bhushan

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