Seniors worry about future careers

Olivia Wainhouse

This spring, college graduates across the country will face the worst job market in 15 years, and the students in Northwestern’s class of 2009 are no exception.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States economy lost 533,000 jobs in November, raising the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent – the highest level since 1993.

Despite these bleak statistics, Weinberg senior Jenni Held said she hopes to get a job in advertising.

“But since the economy is what it is, I’m broadening my horizon,” Held said. “Instead of thinking, ‘Where do I want to be?,’ I have to start thinking about where I can get (a job).”

Held said she felt that she is one of many seniors panicking about employment as Winter Quarter begins and more students attempt to find jobs at the same time that many companies are firing employees.

“They will do a round of interviews, but then it turns out that they aren’t even planning on hiring anyone,” Held said. “They’re just doing the interviews to keep their name out there.”

As an assistant director at University Career Services, Wesley Thorne acts as a liaison between companies that recruit at NU and graduating students. He said many companies are scaling back hiring on campus, especially in the financial sector.

“Some of the banks we usually see on campus aren’t recruiting this year because of the challenges on Wall Street,” Thorne said. “We’re hoping that by the next year they’ll return.”

In response to the recent slump in hiring, Thorne said UCS is working to develop new relationships with organizations that have recently expanded hiring, such as international trading firms and the federal government.

Thorne cited companies such as Davita, International Trading Group, Sears Holdings Corporation and Root Learning, a consulting firm, as examples of employers that UCS has recently established relationships.

“We’re making a concerted effort to try to encourage new employers to come on campus and hire our students,” he said. “It is very common for us to meet with at least two to three new employers every week to discuss their strategy for recruiting students.”

Thorne said that among other resources, UCS is sponsoring two career fairs next week: The Martin Luther King, Jr., Public Interest Fair on Jan. 13 and the Winter Career Expo on Jan. 15.

McCormick senior Alex Fahmi found an internship through a UCS-sponsored career fair at Magnetar Capital, a hedge fund based in Evanston.

“Look places you otherwise wouldn’t look,” Fahmi said. “There are a ton of different ways to apply your skills and interests.”

Communication senior Nayanika Ghosh secured a job at Visa in August. Ghosh used UCS and CareerCat, an online job resource for NU students, in her job search.

“I think it’s just really bad luck for my graduating class,” she said. “People have to change their career trajectory – put what they want on the back burner because there’s not enough jobs out there for everyone.”

However, Ghosh said she remained upbeat about the fates of her classmates.

“We’re intelligent, we’re qualified,” she said. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

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