Ah – the beginning of a new semester! Campus is buzzing with life as students are spending their days getting to know their roommates, playing frisbee in the quad, and browsing the bookstore. However, for others, like myself, the past couple of weeks have not been joyously spent registering for classes or attending involvement fairs.

Our time has been spent trying to accomplish the only task left after graduation – finding that dream job. Our time is spent writing resumes, applying for jobs, and, hopefully, attending interviews (until our ears bleed) as we patiently wait by the phone and refresh our inboxes looking for that glimmer of hope.

However, that glimmer of hope isn’t shining so bright these days for many college alums. In fact, many alumni rarely have a job in their field after graduation. Most alumni are scrambling together to get a job, any job to help them pay for the massive amount of  debt they accrued while attending college. But no matter how hard and how long they struggle, the jobs are just not there.

And why are we so surprised? Unemployment is at an all time high with the current recession. Millions of college alums are graduating at the same time, applying for the same positions, each possessing the one thing they were taught would separate themselves from competitors in the job market – a college degree. But the harsh reality that smacks each student in the face is the drop in value of said “college degree.” Years ago, a college degree was all a recent graduate needed to guarantee a position at a great company, but not anymore.

Companies want experience and diverse experience at that. A good “prospective candidate” for a position must have an expansive portfolio with many samples of work, a filled resume, and years of internships. With applicants reaching into the hundreds per job opening, each student needs to stick out as much as possible with as much experience as possible.

Don’t know who to turn to for help? Turn to the University. Each student pays out the bucket for the resources that are readily available yet few take full advantage of what is offered. Career Services, located on the first floor in Clark Hall, offers a variety of ways to help improve your resume/cover letter, obtain internships, and find work in your field. Their mission statement (found on the Mckendree University website) is to:

  • Give our students the opportunity to become actively involved in developing their career by providing a variety of training activities, programs, and services that support the goals of our students and McKendree University.
  • Encourage students to take initiative and be active in developing their career, using Career Services to help guide them towards success in a career and our society as a whole.
  • Help students understand that developing a career path is truly a life-long process.

Don’t waste any more time. Career Services is available for each student during their college years and beyond. Even if you feel it is too late to begin an internship or find any experience before you graduate you can still turn to Career Services for job placement. The Mckendree website states that each student should “contact Career Services for assistance with finding part-time jobs on campus, career planning, resume preparation, interviewing skills, and job search after graduation/certification” and each student should.

So, before you leave these hallowed halls take advantage of all of the resources available. Go to Career Services, attend that resume writing seminar, and register for that independent study/internship with your advisor. Don’t neglect the opportunities that are staring each student right in the face. We all pay a wheelbarrow full of money to gain this first rate degree and let’s face it, we all need more in this life, and economy, than just a piece of paper hanging on our bedroom wall.

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