Students prowl network for jobs

In life, people look foward to many events.

One is being accepted to a college or university. Another is graduating with a degree. But the most important may be finding a job.

As the economy has entered a recession, many recent graduates are finding it difficult to find work.

‘When I entered college after the military, the economy was robust and I had very high hopes,’ business alumnus Phil Butcher said. ‘For the last year or so, those hopes had somewhat faded as we have entered a recession.’

Labor economists say the unemployment rate for workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher is poised to hit a record high this year. This recession is so far-reaching, few are immune from the consequences.

According to The Washington Post, the unemployment rate among workers with a college degree or higher reached 3.1 percent before the end of 2008.

Since the unemployment rate tends to lag behind other economic indicators, analysts believe unemployment among college-educated workers is likely to surpass 4 percent. This would be the highest rate since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking unemployment by education level in 1970.

Communication alumna Linda Pram said the suffering economy makes finding jobs a hard task, especially for someone with a college degree.

‘I have a college degree and yet, I am working at my cousin’s supermarket,’ Pram said. ‘I do not enjoy it at all, but I have to stay because it is my only source of income. I need to make some kind of money to pay off loans.’

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed increased by 787,000 in May, making the total number 14.5 million.

Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed has risen by 7 million, and the unemployment rate has grown by 4.5 percentage points.

The metro areas with the largest over-the-year percentage declines in employment are Detroit, Phoenix and Charlotte N.C. Houston is not immune to the recession either.

‘Our state’s economy has been fairly resilient during these months of economic uncertainty, but the national economic storm has reached Texas,’ Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken told the Houston Business Journal. ‘The challenge we face now is to minimize the impact of the national trends by continuing to promote our strong business climate and address the skills needs of Texas employers.’

TWC said the unemployment rate in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown region held steady at 5.5 percent.

According to a report prepared for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Houston could lose close to 44,000 jobs this year. It also forecasts that the city could experience an area-wide unemployment rate of 6.6 percent before the end of 2009.

Despite the gloomy numbers, there are ways to combat the recession in the job market.
Butcher said he feels confident about finding a job because of his involvement in student organizations while he attended UH.

‘While interning for a marketing consultant, I learned about the value of networking when she took me to some events with a professional organization,’ Butcher said. ‘This organization started a student chapter at UH recently and I’ve been working with them for the past semester.’

The organization is called The Society for Marketing Professional Services or SMPS. It is for people who work in marketing in the architecture, engineering and construction industries. Any student at UH can join SMPS.

Students who are not majoring in those industries can still find work by networking with other organizations.

‘I feel that networking is crucial for finding a job,’ Butcher said. ‘Networking allows you to meet a variety of people and it gives those looking for a job other resources besides things like CareerBuilder and Monster, or even the school’s own career center.’
Butcher said networking is the key to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization.

‘I feel like all of these things put you in the position of a little fish in a big pond, competing against hundreds of maybe even thousands of other applicants,’ Butcher said. ‘Networking can give you access to jobs that are not posted on these Web sites, or possibly a head start on other applicants.’

For more information about the Society for Marketing Professional Services of Houston, visit or e-mail [email protected]

Leave a Comment