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Preparing for the job market

Francis Emelogu // The Daily Cougar

Francis Emelogu // The Daily Cougar

As if getting the grades to walk across stage at graduation isn’t stressful enough, the pressure of getting a job looms over many graduated students’ shoulders. In a weak job market still recovering from the 2009 recession, it’s a blessing for a student to have a job lined up for them when they walk out of classroom doors for the final time.

As UH’s Spring 2014 graduates took pictures with their friends and families, the prospects of getting a job loomed in the background. The recent grads are entering a job market that is, while better off than previous years, still weak overall.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the weak labor market has been making slow progress towards a full recovery and the unemployment rate of workers under 25 is at a troubling 14.5 percent — showing that a full recovery won’t be occurring anytime soon.

A chart from The State of Working America depicted an astonishing chart of the shortfall of 7.1 million jobs since the recession first hit.

Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said that there are options for the graduating student.

“There’s two main paths that young people that have just graduated can take to further set themselves up for a career,” Sheirholz said. “They can get a job or they can go to further schooling. In this downturn, both paths have been blocked for many students.”

With many unable to continue further schooling due to rising tuition rates and loan debt, students hope to find a suitable profession with their degree. The unemployment rate of workers under 25 is typically double the unemployment rate of all workers.

According to Time Magazine, more than 60 percent of employers said that applicants usually lack communication and interpersonal skills.

Employers believe college grads cannot think critically and creatively. In an aggressive world where people want the best of the best, today’s bosses are concerned with organizational and interpersonal proficiency. The last thing any graduate wants to be is difficult to hire.

Between the start of a student’s college career and the post-graduation job search, they’ll want to improve their basic professional skills. Knowing how to network, write a resume, dress properly for interviews and speak eloquently in a professional setting can help a graduate in the long run.

These are small skills that can make a good first impression.

Standing out from the crowd

A student named Dawn Siff made a video resume on Vine and it ended up becoming viral. She outlined her skills with quick quips and some creativity, but perfecting her delivery was where the hard work came in. Taking about four hours overall to film, Siff took plenty of care to detail for each segment of the six second long video.

“I took about 10 or 12 takes and a few practice rounds,” Siff said in an interview with Buzzfeed.

The video took off on Twitter and people offered to connect Siff with potential employers as she continued her job search, took 64 hours of continuing education classes, attended networking events and went through several job interviews.

While we can’t all produce Vine resumes to get hired, we can still use our talents to help us stand out in a sea of portfolios, resumes and peers trying to get the same job. If someone has amazing design or Photoshop skills, the resume can reflect all of that on paper. It all depends on the company and its culture.

Students should take advantage of the resources that UH offers. University Career Services is a full-service career center that offers graduate student, pre-health and pre-law services.

Students can make an appointment and receive career counseling and resources to help find an internship or job. The mission of UCS is to provide quality services through leadership and relationships built on a foundation of integrity. If that wasn’t enough to convince a Cougar to make an appointment, UCS outlines its resources with helpful handouts to help navigate through their services.

Editorial cartoon by Francis Emelogu

Opinion columnist Gemrick Curtom is a public relations junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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