Students explore potential careers



Courtney Scrib

Facing one of the toughest job markets in recent history, many University students took advantage of the Career Services-sponsored Career Fair on Wednesday.

Personnel from each of the hundred employers answered questions about career opportunities, specific job openings and summer jobs and internships. They provided students of all classes with the chance to explore career options and research different employers and careers.

“We had a goal and met it, but we’re always looking for more participation,” Carol Lloyd, assistant director of Employer Services said. “Companies really like to come to our fair and make their presence known at Villanova so that they can attract well-qualified candidates,” Lloyd said. “They’re looking for those bright and shining stars, and they know they can find them here.”

Tiffanie Davis, a representative from Cintas Corporation, was especially impressed with the turnout. “We love coming here because we always meet good candidates,” Davis said. “They’re interested, well-informed and have great enthusiasm, which is what we definitely like to see.”

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employees, this year’s graduates are contending with a market that is weaker than it was when they enrolled in school, which leaves many seniors feeling concerned about the future.

“I’m really nervous because people I know who graduated and are in marketing still haven’t found jobs yet,” senior marketing major Catherine Morrow said. “But I’m hoping that they’re looking in the wrong cities.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment for people ages 20-24 rose to 10.1 percent in April, up from 9.9 percent the previous year. In addition to rising unemployment, the number of job opportunities is shrinking. As a result, college graduates are forced to become aggressive in their job hunting. Career counselors believe networking is essential.

Companies will tell students to apply online, but counselors say applicants have a much better chance of being called back for an interview if the employers meet them in person.

Another way students get their foot in the door is through internships, allowing them to gain experience and increase their chances of being hired later.

Rather than leaving school for a weak employment market, more and more seniors are opting for graduate studies. A University study showed that in May 2002, 16 percent of the seniors planned on attending graduate school on a full time basis immediately after graduation; in 2003 the figure rose to 20 percent.

In the meantime, college officials urge unemployed graduates to remain patient and work part time or even volunteer in whatever fields they hope to work.

“I always tell students to dig deeper and to not lose focus,” assistant director of Career Services Kathleen Bracken said. “They’ll eventually be offered the job they want.”