Five years ago, Mary Kutscher was a Kent State junior fashion merchandising major, lost, but intrigued by one of the university’s biannual job fairs.
“I didn’t really want to go, but I met people there from Kohl’s,” Kutscher said. “I was petrified and scared, but that’s part of the process. Being nervous helps at the end of the day.”
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Kutscher said she received an internship with Kohl’s simply because she talked to them at the job fair. She said after some networking and a successful internship, she landed a permanent job with Kohl’s.
Who Gets Help?
Owens said 16.9 percent of the students who came to get help from Kent State’s Career Services last year were alumni and post-graduates, and 25.9 percent were seniors about to graduate. She said about a fourth of these students were arts and sciences majors, and a fifth were business students.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the top five majors in the Midwest are accounting, computer and information sciences, finance, management information systems and mechanical engineering as of 2012. NACE also reported that the Midwest and Northeast regions of the U.S. are the most interested in hiring students in these top five majors as of 2012. The group surveyed companies throughout the U.S. and gathered this data, which outlines the percent of industry respondents who said they were hiring:
– Finance, Insurance and Real Estate: 89 percent
– Chemical (Pharmaceutical) Manufacturing.: 73 percent
– Retail Trade: 70 percent
– Accounting Services: 89 percent
– Utilities in Computer and Information Sciences: 73 percent
– Computer and Electronics Manufacturing: 67 percent
– Utilities in Electrical Engineering: 100 percent
v- Utilities in Mechanical Engineering: 100 percent
– Oil and Gas Extraction in Mechanical Engineering: 64 percent
Kutscher said she is responsible for scouting out college juniors and seniors interested in finding a management job for Kohl’s. She said the company usually retains the interns that are hired during the summer.
“I would say our placement rate is probably if we choose two or three applicants, we keep them after,” Kutscher said. “It’s pretty good. We go statewide a lot for recruiting, especially at larger schools like Kent State.”
Kohl’s is one of several top employers in the Ohio area. Carla Owens, associate director for The Career Services Center, said the following are known as top employers of college graduates in Ohio:
– Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores
– The J.M. Smucker Company
Owens said these companies consistently look for Kent State students at university job fairs and through online job boards. She said students looking for jobs in IT, computers, business sectors, health care and hospitality will have the best chance of getting a job the next couple years.
“Those are the feeders in the job world,” Owens said.
Robert Walker, director for the school of digital sciences, said all of the students in digital sciences, computer information systems and technology are essentially guaranteed a job upon graduation. He said almost all companies and employers need someone who knows how to work IT today.
“You look around and see companies like Progressive, KeyBank, FedEx, Smucker’s and all these companies need IT people,” Walker said. “We use smartphones and iPads more than before. Somebody has to maintain and grow those new technologies.”
Owens said the more competitive fields today are education, counseling and anything in liberal arts. She said these students might have a better chance of getting a job if they specialize or figure out exactly what they want to do with their degree before applying for jobs.
“There are lots of opportunities for liberal arts students if you can market yourself well,” Owens said. “I’m talking psychology, sociology and English students. There are opportunities, but it’s not as clear of a path for them.”
Kevin Gates, senior recreation park and tourism management major, said though his field is competitive, he decided to specialize and get a disability studies and community inclusion certificate before he looks for a job next spring.
“There’s a bigger need for people who are [certified] in inclusion and disabilities,” Gates said. “Having that on my resume will help. I plan to start small in my job search and then build my way up.”
Some of the best areas to look for jobs are Midwest and Northeast states. Owens said Ohio is a great place to start. She said if a student wants to go further, Texas has also hired a lot of college graduates in recent years.
“It depends on the industry,” she said. “But Texas currently has a lot of jobs in all different fields, not anything specific.”
Contact Megan Wilkinson at [email protected]