Tough job market facing spring grads

Mary Anne Andrews

What do you want to be when you grow up?

The question is simple enough. But the reality of starting a professional life after college can be daunting, especially in a still-struggling job market.

Employers plan to hire 10.2 percent more 2012 college graduates than 2011 graduates, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. This estimate is higher than their 9.5 percent September estimate. But these numbers are little relief to graduates who cannot find a job.

Henderson senior Kyle Fuller said he didn’t expect his job search to be so tough.

Fuller is double-majoring in Finance and Economics and will graduate this spring. He has a 4.0 GPA.

Over the past few months, Fuller said he has been to at least five interviews but still no job.

“The biggest hurdle is getting in a place where they will let you learn on the job,” Fuller said.

He thinks his lack of experience has been the main reason he hasn’t been hired yet. But he’s not giving up.

Fuller said he’s willing to relocate and is not particular about what type of business he works in.

“Graduation couldn’t be here any sooner,” he said. “I didn’t take a break between high school and college. I’m 18 years strong on school, and now I’m done and over it.”

Some students already have a job waiting after graduation. Tony King, a senior from Cleveland, will be working as a residence coordinator at the University of Central Arkansas next fall.

King is a fourth-year senior who majored in advertising while at WKU. He also works as the Community Advisor at Pearce-Ford Tower.

Instead of looking for a job directly associated with his major, King wanted to follow his passion of working with students.

“It was back-and-forth with me, because I love advertising and doing graphic design, but I also love working with students and seeing them grow and mature,” he said. “I’ll still work on advertising and graphic design on the side, but it will be freelance.”

King said he did not work with the Career Services Center to find a job. Instead, he heard about a placement exchange, which he described as a sort of job fair, through the Department of Housing and Residence Life.

King also did not use the Academic Advising and Retention Center to graduate on time, aside from meeting with his adviser.

“I knew it was a problem with people graduating in five years,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with that, but I didn’t want to.”

The AARC offers services such as the Best Expectations Program and The Learning Center, which gives students a place to study, computers to use and free peer-to-peer tutoring, according to its website. TLC also offers Workshops for Success and Peer Assisted Study Sessions, according to its website.

Stephanie Burba, a senior biology and math education double major from Magnolia, Ky., is thankful for the time she’s had at WKU.

“It is surreal knowing that I am graduating in two weeks,” she said. “WKU has molded me into the professional, leader and academic I am today. My undergraduate career has been filled with lots of firsts, wonderful friends and great accomplishments.”