The May jobs report is devastating. It's estimated that over half the graduating class of 2012 will not have jobs. Yes the economy is slow, it's slowing in emerging markets as well besides Europe that seems very bad. However, those US students who are entering college in the fall need to consider the following things:
- Stay with a Science/Engineering Major: Unless you totally hate science and math in high school stay with science and engineering in college. You can always do a double major/minor in subjects that you love but those that do not have jobs. Science/Engineering have the highest paying jobs and a shortage.
- Even Business needs Math and Science: This blog is biased towards innovation but the point is that emerging opportunities in fields like marketing no longer depend only on "social skills" and "creativity." Data analysis with big data is an emerging field with huge opportunities for fields within business including supply chain,finance and accounting.
- Get Internships from freshman year: Internships are a no-brainer in today's job market. Yet parents are surprised when they learn that a majority of college students start preparing a resume in their senior year. Even high demand majors need students to have experience in the field. It's better that your experience is part of a structured company internship program.
- Large companies are looking for interns : Most large companies are looking for interns. It makes economic sense for them and also decreases hiring costs if there is a mutual fit. For the intern, its a win anyway because an internship on a resume makes all the difference in your job hunt. A good reference from your internship supervisor can be great in landing your job after graduation.
- Engage with College Career Events: All colleges, faculty and administrators understand the urgency of the economic situation. They organize career events, activities and the majority of students do not show up. Unless you are in it- you cannot win it whether- it is an internship or a job offer.
- Engage with professional clubs: Among professional associations less than 20% members show up for events - even when they are free, include dinner and have a great speaker. College professional clubs tend to be thinly attended as well. This is a lost opportunity to take leadership and engage with the Professional Association who are happy to come and speak, offer internships or at least tips and advise.
Facebook and LinkedIn should supplement the college student's networking efforts and not replace the "on ground" opportunities that colleges, the community and professional associations keep trying to provide.
In summary, with globalization the graduating class of 2016 will face an equally turbulent job market and the time to start preparing is from the Fall of Freshman year in 2012. Contact StratoServe.