Seniors may have higher chances of getting jobs

Kelly Hwu

With graduation just months away, the class of 2012 can breathe a little easier: Hiring is on the rise, according to a recent study.

Weinberg senior Jessica Barbakoff is one of the many students benefiting from a national trend of increased hiring. Employers are expected to increase hiring by up to 10.2 percent for the class of 2012, according to a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Barbakoff, an art history major with a Business Institutions Program minor and Integrated Marketing Communications certificate, recently landed a job at a large and prominent advertising company in Chicago. Starting her search the summer before senior year, Barbakoff, who graduated last quarter, said she applied to more than 20 jobs and developed networks, participating in informational interviews to build relationships with employers. She said she taught herself how to “get (her) foot in the door and make employers remember (her).”

By calling advertising companies, Barbakoff said she was able to let them know who she was and express her interest in the advertising business.

“I was incredibly anxious with the whole process,” Barbakoff said. “It’s very stressful and it requires a certain type of person that is confident and willing to put themselves out there.”

Northwestern University Career Services Executive Director Lonnie Dunlap said she has noticed more seniors using the career center. Dunlap said there has also been more activity by employers in campus career fairs, on-campus interviewing and job postings.

“We have seen an increase in seniors getting job offers and it’s a trend that other college career centers are noticing, too,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap said more students are receiving multiple job offers. The spring is when employers need to hire quickly and students’ preparations during the year pay off during this time, Dunlap said.

Dunlap also said she has noticed more seniors are participating in the career center’s interview training.

“One student that came in wanted to improve his interview skills, so after doing lots of training, he started getting second- and third-round interviews,” Dunlap said.

Communication senior Adam Lella used the UCS CareerCat, an online job and internship search engine, to look for full-time jobs. Lella, a member of NU Consultants Advising Student Enterprises, said he planned to apply only to consulting firms, but as time passed, he also applied for marketing, finance and business analyst positions.

“As a student, your plan is to get a job after college so that is something you have to secure and it’s not a fun process,” Lella said. “It’s kind of unnecessarily evil.”

Lella applied to more than 70 jobs and heard back from two-thirds of employers.

Last week, Lella was offered a job in a rotational program at a widely recognized corporation in Miami doing marketing and finance work. After completing a phone interview and staying in contact with the human resources coordinator and interviewer, Lella had a video conference with some executive members.

“I didn’t feel it was easy to get a job because everything is so competitive,” he said.

NU economics Prof. James Hornsten said some industries are hiring more than others, such as health care and information technology.

“We are buying lots of smart phones, tablets and e-readers, and want to be connected everywhere, so there is a high demand for workers in the information technology sector,” Hornsten said. “Social trends matter.”

Dunlap said NU’s current seniors are faring better than previous graduating classes.

“The ’09 grads struggled the most in the job market, but since then, job offers have gradually increased,” Dunlap said. “Students are feeling encouraged.”

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