As seniors are hunting for jobs in the beginning of second semester and through on-campus recruiting, students still unemployed continue to explore a variety of options to find jobs post-graduation.
Students who do not have jobs secured right after graduation are not alone. According to the Career Plans Survey for the Class of 2012, 17 percent of employed students accepted job offers after graduation.
For some, their current joblessness is a voluntary condition — not every student is necessarily actively seeking employment upon graduation. For others, this as-yet-unemployed status hinges on a variety of different factors, like the state of the job market and the nature of the work they’re looking for.
Director of Career Services Patricia Rose said that the course of action for a soon-to-be graduate who has not yet secured employment “depends entirely on what he or she wants to do.” She added that there are “a number of industries where you need to expect that the job search may not really heat up until late spring or early summer.”
The industries Rose referenced conduct what is called “just-in-time hiring,” meaning that until the company knows that it has a job or particular position available, it won’t advertise the job. Frequently in these cases, someone within a company resigns fairly suddenly, thus creating an open job position.
This type of situation affects people “who want to get jobs on Capitol Hill, or at a think tank, or at a PR firm,” among other industries, Rose said.
The current job market is such that students graduating with certain majors are not even actively seeking employment for when they graduate. Architecture major and College senior Alexander Kruhly hopes to work for a year or two at an architecture firm before going to graduate school for architecture, but is not currently searching for a job.
“With the state of the economy … architecture firms don’t really know if they’re going to have enough projects to hire,” Kruhly explained. “If they do have a project, they’ll hire on a project-to-project basis.”
Kruhly said he doesn’t expect to know of his employment status until April or May.
“Architecture is a really small major — only 24 seniors — and a lot of people haven’t started looking yet. Everyone kind of understands that firms cannot commit to hiring right now.”
There are students, too, who are actively seeking employment but have not yet received an offer. Others are searching for jobs in several different fields at once.
A Wharton senior concentrating in finance and statistics who wished to remain anonymous for the sake of his job search has applied for consulting jobs and private equity jobs but is also applying for entrepreneurship jobs at the same time.
“I thought I wanted to do consulting and finance, but I guess that I kind of switched career paths to entrepreneurship,” he said. “I’m still actively looking for a job, just not necessarily in my intended field.”
He added that although he thought he wanted to pursue a career in finance consulting last semester, his “desire to be to be an entrepreneur held firm and that might have shown through in [his] interviews.”
Rose advises any student still looking for a job to show willingness to be flexible. In some cases, this may mean taking a lesser position than a student might have hoped for.
“Everyone needs a way in,” she said. “You have to be willing to do whatever the entry-level job is and you have to shine in that job.”
Rose also mentioned the merits of finding a temporary position if a student has not yet found a full-time job.
“Temping can be good,” she said. “It gives you experience and you can develop a list of references in a certain field.”
While students often prefer to have a job secured by the time they receive their diplomas, Rose ended on a scarcely heard but encouraging note.
“Nowhere is it written that you have to have a job by graduation.”