How to navigate job market during economic downturn

By From the Career Center

What can I do to increase my marketability? How can I stand out? When possible, seek opportunities such as internships, job shadows, class projects, etc., to demonstrate and improve your skills, which will increase your marketability to employers. In addition to the technical skills necessary for your area of interest, employers want individuals with great interpersonal skills, communication skills, demonstrated leadership qualities, project management experience, initiative, the ability to develop and maintain relationships, and skills in analyzing and interpreting data Will I be able to get a job or internship? Jobs are still available, even though recruiting experts are reporting that hiring of college graduates is down approximately 8 percent nationally.What can I do to increase my marketability? How can I stand out?

When possible, seek opportunities such as internships, job shadows, class projects, etc., to demonstrate and improve your skills, which will increase your marketability to employers. In addition to the technical skills necessary for your area of interest, employers want individuals with great interpersonal skills, communication skills, demonstrated leadership qualities, project management experience, initiative, the ability to develop and maintain relationships, and skills in analyzing and interpreting data

Will I be able to get a job or internship?

Jobs are still available, even though recruiting experts are reporting that hiring of college graduates is down approximately 8 percent nationally. Experts agree that the following types of organizations are more likely to hire college graduates:

  • Some large organizations that compete globally
  • Organizations that are replacing retirees with new hires, including the federal government;
  • Small, fast-growth organizations such as “green” industries Organizations faring better during the economic downturn, such as nuclear, oil and gas utilities; railroads; and information technology.

Do not let the economic environment discourage you – conduct your job search as you would in any economy.

Many employers are expanding internship programs. Interns are a pool of talent that can be converted into full-time hires once the economy improves, and some companies may offer more opportunities than in recent years.

Are there other ways to find jobs rather than through career services on campus?

A number of jobs are available through the online job systems offered by the career services offices on campus (again, a list of these can be found on the Career Services Network Web site at www.careerservices.uiuc.edu), but there are literally thousands of jobs posted in other publications and sites. The most important strategy is to network with friends, family, alumni and other contacts – they may know of opportunities you have never thought about. Networking is key in a tight job market. There are statistics that suggest 80 percent of available jobs are not posted, so the best way to hear about them is through word-of-mouth via networking.

If you or one of your contacts knows someone in the company, that can be a great way to get noticed among a number of applications.