By Lindsay Haislip
The class of 2011 faces a positive outlook as it heads out into the real world after graduation. Statistics show that the job market for 2011 graduates is looking much better than it has in previous years. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), “Overall, employers expect to hire 13.5 percent more new graduates from the class of 2011 than they hired from the class of 2010.”
It is important to still keep in mind the fact that hiring has been way down in the past three years for graduates, “so, when we go up 13.5 percent, we’re still recovering from last year’s low number. It’s all kind of relative, but it’s good news; I’m happy with that. 13.5 is wonderful,” said Director of the Career Center, Jim Allison.
Washington College’s Career Center has been hard at work helping students find internships and jobs in their fields of interest.
“Typically in the fall semester every year, we see the majority of our hiring at the internship level,” said Allison. “Most of the students we’ve worked with, at least at the senior level, are applying to graduate school.”
On the employer side, the Career Center has been receiving many calls from businesses that are interested in WC students.
“We have seem an uptake in general in employers contacting us, posting positions, posting internships; everything is definitely better than the past three years, no question,” said Allison.
In regards to the pick-up in recruiters contacting WC, the people who are typically contacting the Career Center about available positions and interest in WC students are alumni, parents, friends, and people that know the college, according to Allison.
“There are a lot of people out on the road talking about Washington College, talking about jobs and internships, and about hiring Washington College graduates,” Allison said.
A few examples of recent recruiters that have made contact with WC are Booz Allen Hamilton, MERC, T. Rowe Price, and Proctor and Gamble.
“Booz Allen is hiring 125 people in one division this summer,” said Allison. “MERC has made a commitment that they would absolutely look at our candidates. T. Rowe Price just contacted me out of Baltimore last week and said, ‘We’re hiring. How can we come to the career fair, and how can we recruit on your campus? What kind of campus recruiting plan can we develop?”
Allison also said that a WC 2008 graduate called in wanting to hire a WC student intern for the summer.
“The key with internships,” Allison said, is that somewhere around six out of every 10 (some would say higher) interns are offered a full time-job while conducting their internship.” Allison also stressed the importance of starting internships early around the freshmen and sophomore year, because once students get to be upperclassmen, they are inundated with work.
Allison also stressed the importance of networking in the job world.
“About eight out of every 10 opportunities develop through someone you know,” he said, “when folks go online to Monster and Career Builder and sites like that and just apply, there’s a low interview rate. If you don’t know someone at the site you’re applying, your chances of getting an interview are small, not impossible but small.”
WC surveys its graduates twice to determine where they stand as far as jobs and future plans go at two crucial points: graduation, and six to nine months after graduation. With these surveys, WC is able to determine how many students have jobs, how many are attending or plan to attend grad school, and how many are undecided, taking time off, or travelling. WC is doing very well in this regard, based on surveys it has received in the years of a down economy.
“The main point is that for graduate school placement or acceptance, and for job placement or acceptance, we have been running ahead of the national averages, even in a down economy,” said Allison. “We have actually seen improvements in our internship numbers in a down economy as well.”
“Somebody is doing something right,” Allison said; “Our faculty is doing something right, the staff is doing something right. We get a lot of support.”