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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


The real world: It’s coming, how ready are you?

Sam Gross
Students file through rows of recruiters during the Spring Career Fair at the Student Union Memorial Center on Tuesday, March 8. The fair is the most popular event that Career Services puts on every year.

Recent college graduates see themselves as prepared to move on into the professional world, however their employers sometimes bring their qualifications into question.

Sixty-two percent of recent graduates think they are prepared to effectively communicate in the real world, according to a recent study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. However, only 28 percent of employers agreed.

Eileen McGarry, executive director of Career Services and Student Engagement at the UA, described easy ways students can gain the edge employers are looking for and bridge this apparent gap in opinion.

“Preparedness, awareness and confidence are the keys for students entering the job market,” McGarry said. “Around 75 percent of undergraduate students and 40 percent of graduate students take advantage of the resources Career Services has to offer.”

Career Services offers resources including career coaching, in which students work on their resumes and practice interviewing skills, and employer information sessions and panels that provide opportunities to explore a variety of career fields.

The university established the Institute for Career Readiness and Engagement in 2014. The institute’s goal is to connect students with employers and opportunities, and it receives funding through the Workforce Development Grant program. One resource in particular that focuses on career and leadership development is the Edge program.

Open to all sophomores and juniors who register, the Edge program runs for nine weeks and focuses on research and skills needed to secure coveted internships and careers. For students looking for help preparing, the program is a great place to start.

One of the most popular career service activities is the Spring Career Fair, McGarry said.

“This spring, the [UA’s] career fair will house over 160 companies from 26 different states,” McGarry said. “These companies are collectively looking to hire 2,000 interns and fill over 3,000 full-time positions, making this the largest career fair on campus since the recession.”

The Spring Career Fair will take place March 8-9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the third floor ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center and is open to all interested students.

With employers focusing more on skill and less on majors, McGarry said the key is to be professional and make a positive first impression. More often than not, that first impression is a resume. Boasting a student population of over 40,000 and over 600 clubs and organizations, getting involved and buffing up that resume at the UA should be the easy part.

Resumes and skills are important, but when it comes down to salaries and opportunities, certain majors will always stand apart from the rest.

The Georgetown Public Policy Institute published a recent study arguing that not all college degrees are created equal. Science, technology, engineering, mathematics and business majors are at the top of the pay scale for recent graduates, while education and psychology remain near the bottom. However, what some degrees lack in pay, they make up for in job security.

Nursing and elementary education majors have the lowest unemployment rates for recent graduates at 4.8 percent and 5 percent respectively. Information services majors show the highest unemployment rates among recent graduates at 14.7 percent.

Unemployment in all majors decreases significantly at the master’s degree level or better, as well as when real work experience levels of college graduates increases, according to the study.

Seventy-three percent of college students feel that they will be able to find a job when they graduate, while just slightly fewer believe they will find a job that fits their interests and goals, according to the study.

“The Professional Development Center has been a big help for me,” said Kelsey Findlow, a business management junior. “This school has a lot to offer, you just have to be willing to work hard.”

Follow Brice Lennon on Twitter.

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