In slow economy, grads shouldn’t be too picky

By Mary Scannell

What’s the best way you can come out of college with more than just a degree?

“Settle for less,” said Dr. Minh Quang Dao, visiting economics professor from Eastern Illinois University.

The economy is in a major slump because of the housing market crisis and staggering crude oil prices and, all these factors affect the economy in different ways. But for students, it can mean fewer jobs.

Some professions will be hit harder than others. If your major has to do with high technology, then you’re safer than most, Dao explained. Manufacturing and communication technology are demand-driven and therefore less likely to feel the pressure of the economy.

Ironically, high-paying jobs such as business, marketing and sales may have more problems. These already competitive fields will require extra effort on the part of new graduates.

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    “It’s an employers’ market right now. Grads will have to sell themselves,” Dao said.

    Engineering tends to move in cycles. While at the University of Illinois earning his doctorate, Dao was friends with many electrical engineers, which was the right field to be in at the time. However, some current engineers may not be so lucky.

    Teaching, which has never been known to be particularly lucrative, may be in deeper waters. Higher education at the university level has been affected.

    In Dao’s own experience at Eastern, when teachers chose to resign and move on, their positions were never refilled. The economics department simply had to make do with the teachers they had and use temps to teach basic courses.

    David Zimmerman, a senior in history with a minor in secondary education, has always been concerned about the difficulties teachers face when attempting to get their first jobs.

    “My mom wants me to apply in Wisconsin, too, because she knows a superintendent there,” Zimmerman said.

    As with most job hunts, networking is key.

    Student teachers are encouraged to network when observing classrooms.

    Ashley Angerame, a graduate student in Accounting, is working for her master’s before she begins at KPMG, one of the big four accounting firms in the country.

    Angerame interned with KPMG last summer and was offered a job there. KPMG came to the University to find interns. Many companies hire their interns as well as hire from outside their own doors, but because of the economy there are fewer slots that need to be filled.

    Dao suggests that students make themselves more marketable. Make sure resumes are spotless, grades are excellent, and go for what’s available to you.

    “You won’t get your dream job right away,” he said.