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One more roadblock for the class of 2012

By Emily Askew
On May 1, 2012

Graduates of 2012 may find that their prized bachelor's degree is no longer the golden ticket to the perfect job in their field. According the a recent analysis of government employment conducted by The Associate Press, half of recent college graduates are struggling to find jobs or are in positions that under utilize their degree due to a weak labor market.
"It makes me feel nervous and anxious about the idea of not having a job when I graduate," said Samantha George, a graduating senior majoring in communications studies.
According to the research, approximately 1.5 million students who hold a bachelor degree under the age of 25 were unemployed or underemployed, the highest number in a decade. The research suggests that young college graduates are heavily represented in low-wage jobs that require a high school diploma or less.
Positions in science, health and education fields were found by students easily, while students who majored in art history, anthropology or philosophy struggle to find work within their field.
Sarah Dove, director of the School of Business and Economics career center, says that she doesn't see the national average reflected in Sonoma State students' professional success. Dove, also a lecturer for the School of Business, spends the majority of her time in the community ensuring that students get the best local internships and job connections.
Dove says she goes the extra mile to integrate the school of business into the community and help business students network with professionals. Recognizable companies like Target, Kohl's and Enterprise are all major employers of SSU students and offer several full-time positions upon graduation every year.
"I haven't really thought of SSU by itself; I just assumed everyone is facing the same employment situation. I have been looking for jobs,and there are definitely jobs out there, but they aren't ideal jobs that people would probably want," said George. Some students think that SSU and major departments should help educate students on how to break into and succeed in the workforce. Other students believe the individual students should be held responsible for finding success after graduation.
"I think the communications department does a good job of e-mailing us about internship opportunities, but it is the student's job to follow through with applying to those internships," said George. "In senior seminar, we go over resumes, and (our professor) gives out information on places to look for jobs in the communications field."
Cornelia Klein, a kinesiology junior, agreed that both the department and the student should foster professional-realm skills.
"I think that (SSU) could improve in preparing us for the work force and also for attending graduate school. Sometimes, people are not fully prepared or are unaware of some of the requirements. But it's also up to you to prepare yourself for the real world, because you're the only person that knows what is best for your situation," said Klein.
Kiki Fkiaras, a kinesiology major with a focus on pre-physical therapy, believes that students who go the extra mile to ensure they will be a desirable job candidate are often the students who will find success in the job market. Finding a passion is an essential part of gaining employment upon graduation, says Fkiaras.
In fact, some students believe that pursuing further education is the best option. Fkiaras, who plans to continue on to graduate school, is less anxious about working and more optimistic about continuing her education.
"I'm going to graduate school after Sonoma, so I'm hoping that will increase my chances of having job security and being able to find a job more easily," said Klein.
Students who take advantages of programs like major clubs, resume workshops, career and internship fairs, and other career-boosting moves are not guaranteed to find a job more easily, but it certainly doesn't hurt, according to Dove.
According to George, it is important to build up your resume as much as you can while you are still in college. Participating in clubs, research projects, fostering professional references and finding an internship relevant to your field are all pertinent to students finding education level-appropriate jobs after graduation.
"I know no one wants to start at the bottom, but that's what most of us will do. You can't get your dream job right out of college - the chances of that happening are slim," said George. 


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