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The Dartmouth
April 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Seniors struggle with job search

With unemployment figures rising and the economy in a state of decline, seniors' search for jobs thus far is less fruitful this year than in the past. While some students have received job offers through recruiting and from summer and off-term internships, many are still struggling to find employment at a time when job openings are sparse.

While more seniors had received job offers through the Fall term on-campus recruiting program by this time last year, results this year have not been very good.

"Students are more likely to talk about it this year because they realize they're not alone," said Monica Wilson, assistant director of employer relations at Dartmouth Career Services.

In fact last year only, seniors started feeling the brunt of the job decrease -- a problem which has worsened this year.

"Last year a lot of offers were made, the economy slowed down, and some Dartmouth students ended up [with] rescinding offers," Wilson said.

According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, unemployment for 20-24 year-olds was 9.5 percent this October, compared to 6.8 percent last October.

Most of the seniors, who already have jobs for next year, received their offers after their off-term internships and not through the on-campus recruiting program.

"I have already signed a contract with the company that I did an internship with during the summer, so I'm basically done with the process," Mike Lee '02 said. "I feel fortunate because it's a tough year."

"I got an offer from Solomon Smith Barney, where I interned last summer, and I'm not sure if I'm taking it yet," Carla Giugliano '02, said.

Career Services organizes and arranges the recruiting process on campus, which includes the first resume drop in the early fall, on-campus interviews, meeting with the employers, advising how to negotiate contracts and a multitude of services between. Despite the apparent decline in job openings, on-campus recruiting makes it "so much easier than getting a job any other time in life," Cindy Keppel '02 said.

"In years past, companies would have been beating down the door for Dartmouth students, and now it's the other way around," Vanessa Green '02, who is still in the process of looking for a job, said. "If people get offers now, they're most likely going to take them," she continued.

Due to the decrease in open positions for the 115 companies that participated in fall recruiting at Dartmouth, students may hastily accept offers. Career Services discourages seniors from making any such abrupt decisions, though.

"You want to take the job that best suits you, not necessarily the one that gives you an offer first," Wilson said. "We don't want students to feel pressure to take an offer just because it's there."

The recruiting process is scheduled to continue after this term as well. However, a different set of employers recruits in the winter and spring, so the process is not nearly over. In fact, last year was the first time Dartmouth had fall recruiting, according to Wilson.

"We told students in September that it would not be realistic for them to go home fall term with a job offer," Wilson said. "There is a significant percentage of Dartmouth students who graduate each year who don't have secure employment," she said.

Despite the assistance of Career Services and the underlying awareness of that the job market is down, some seniors still feel anxiety.

"It's a very frustrating process," Green said. "I think it's hard for a lot of people because it definitely affects your confidence level when you get rejected from place after place."

Career Services is also working to expose students to other job options, just as the second annual Not-for-Profit Career Fair did this past October.

This year, more than 400 students attended the fair, compared with the 330 from last year, according to Vinny Ng '03, who organized the event. Wilson noted an increase in the number of students who applied to the Peace Corps, other such not-for-profit jobs and graduate school -- a likely result of the lack of corporate job openings.