Seniors have plenty of job opportunities to look forward to

Alexandria Kobryn - Jobs Reporter Email at [email protected]

If you’re set to graduate in May and haven’t started looking for a job yet, don’t fret, the job market looks good for graduating seniors.

“If you’re graduating and haven’t found a job yet, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s going to be harder,” said Phillip Gardner, the director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. “Most activity has already taken place … but there’s still a lot of  positions that aren’t filled, so there’ll be continued efforts to find talent until the end of early summer.”

Gardner also said 2016 is a good year to graduate because of the new jobs that have presented themselves.

“This whole year has been a very active year for employers and job opportunities. It’s been a very, very good year,” said Gardner. “It’s gotten progressively better since the bottom fell out in 2009 to 2010. … We’ve had two really good years back-to-back.”

Gardner said job searches are divided into years. They begin in early fall, which is when students should begin their job search, and continue until early summer.

Making sure to utilize all of the services offered by the career center and connecting to other resources that can be used post-graduation is a must, said Gardner.

Jody Patterson, a senior career coach at the Career Service Center, suggests visiting or the Bureau of Labor Statistics for accurate statistics and information on salary and job growth. The job search consists of more than handing in a resume and following up on emails and interviews, said Patterson.

“A student needs a good understanding of his or her strengths and interests and also how those strengths can benefit an employer,” Patterson said. “Lack of self-knowledge and lack of employer-specific knowledge can really deter a candidate from being successful in the job search process.”

Gardner also makes a point of noting that students play a key role in the job searching process.

“People say it’s very competitive and very active on the employer side, it’s also competitive on the student side,” Gardner said. “If students aren’t ready to transition and don’t have the experiences …  and haven’t done some self-reflection, they’re gonna struggle.”

Kimberly Harden, a manager for Equal Employment and Opportunity and Recruitment for Cleveland Human Resources, said the job market for Cleveland is more robust than it has been in the past.

“I believe that there are positions available, but I believe that those positions are going to go to those college students that have not only graduated and mastered their craft, but really have some type of practical experience,” Harden said. “For those students, I think things look good.”

Harden’s responsibilities include identifying qualified men and women to fill openings or vacant positions within Cleveland.

Gardner believes the next year for the job market may decrease some because of the streak of positivity the job market has been experiencing, but he cannot say for sure.

“We have some unknowns going into the fall, what the political election is going to do. But things on the surface look pretty strong,” he said. “Right now, we’re seeing opportunities for every major”

Patterson said that in Portage County, accountants, auditors and technology based fields continue to top the list of in-demand occupations.