College graduates across the nation are facing a pulverized job market as they attempt to put that newly-attained degree to work and begin a career. With the employment situation still nursing wounds from the economic cyclone, choosing that initial career move will be a critical step.
“This information changes on a dime in this economy, so people always need to do some research and look into the long-term forecasting before they make decisions that might affect them years from now,” said Kathy Sims, director of the UCLA Career Center.
So which are the sturdiest first steps on the many career ladders out there?
“Between [NACE’s] Salary Survey reports and the Job Outlook results, I would have to say that in general, students in the technical and business fields may be the luckiest in getting job offers from the Class of 2010,” said Andrea Koncz, employment information manager at NACE.
Technical and business positions include careers related to engineering, computers sciences, accounting, retail and management fields.
“Their salary offers continue to rise, and they appear to be receiving most of the offers,” Koncz said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Labor sees advanced manufacturing, health care and planet saving as growing fields for graduates. With the constant growing attention on health care and green jobs, these industries have continued to expand, help in no small part from national and state-level government grants.
However, not all industries are as healthy. Big businesses, fine arts, municipalities and higher education are all areas today where employment is not a priority.
Author and career expert Lindsey Pollack advises graduates to look beyond corporate America for future positions. She recommends digging deep and looking into opportunities with small businesses, start-ups, nonprofits and government agencies.
“These jobs can be harder to find, so you must tap into your network and ask the people you know to help connect you to opportunities in their networks,” Pollack said.
In reference to NACE’s Salary Survey reports and Job Outlook results, Koncz said the majors that fall more into the "liberal arts" category are not as reliable for finding and securing jobs in the current economic climate.
What alternatives are available for students with degrees that aren’t doing the job?
“If you are already in an area that is struggling, we tell students to go to you career centers to help figure out what skills are transferable and find out what industries are still hiring or growing,” Sims said. “This way, students can determine whether not they have the skills to work in those areas.”
Pollack pointed out a handful of skills that are valuable to any employer – in any industry.
“There will always be a need for people with excellent transferable skills, such as good communication skills, leadership, creativity, teamwork, logic, design, research, etc.,” Pollack said.