News Column

New Grads Get Help in Job Search

July 17, 2012

Jonnelle Davis

New Grads Get Help in Job Search

Michelle Kirkman thought her degree in environmental studies would make it easy for her to get a job, given today's focus on sustainability and the growing interest in "green" jobs.

But the 25-year-old, who graduated from UNCG in May, hasn't had any luck finding a job. Most of the jobs she is interested in require experience, she said.

"It's hard to get experience if you can't get a job," said Kirkman, who is working as a nanny.

The outlook for hiring is slowly getting better, said Andrew Brod, senior research fellow with UNCG's Bryan School of Business & Economics.

"The increase is looking better in the private sector than in government hiring," Brod said. "But even the private sector gains are slow, and they're not strong enough to keep up with new recruitment into the labor force."

But despite the trouble some college graduates may be having finding a job, Brod said, it's "much, much, much tougher" for people who don't have a college degree.

"The biggest improvement one can make in one's job prospects is just getting a college degree," said Brod. "The choice of major is a secondary concern."

Kirkman attended a workshop Monday at Central Library to learn how to increase her chances of getting hired.

Kim Hailey of the library's job and career center is offering the workshop series in July and August for recent graduates trying to jump-start their careers.

"Looking for a job is a job," Hailey told the participants. "It's hard work."

Kirkman said most of her friends are still looking for jobs, including one who graduated a couple of years ago and now works four part-time jobs.

Takiyah Vincent, 24, graduated from Ben-nett College in May 2011 with a degree in arts management and performance. She still hasn't found a job in her field and is working as a part-time manager for O. Henry Hotel.

"It's been kind of rough -- up and down," Vincent said of her job search.

She applies for jobs and attempts to follow up with employers, but never gets any feedback. She is considering going to graduate school.

"I think I just need more skill," Vincent said.

Source: (c)2012 the News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.). Distributed by MCT Information Services

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