Study reveals increase in job prospects for college grads; Wilkes expert says finding regional jobs requires more effort

Although a national survey reports an increase in job prospects for recent graduates, one Wilkes expert says finding a regional position is still tough and students must be prepared for hard-hitting competition.

Recruiting Trends, an annual report created by Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute, reported an increase of two percent in the college labor market for the past year. The market for college graduates with Bachelor’s degrees continues to improve especially in the manufacturing, nonprofit, and education fields according to the report.

Carol Bosack, director of Career Services at Wilkes University, says she finds the report useful and credits its creators as being good researchers within the career development field. While she agrees with the report of an increase in the number of hires, she does not feel it has become much easier in obtaining a job.

“In terms of hiring Wilkes students, I see some larger companies increasing their numbers of hires, such as Enterprise Holdings, Target Corporation, and Price-Waterhouse-Coopers. They are still highly selective however, many with higher GPA cut-offs and expectations of internships and community service and leadership within undergraduate years,” Bosack said.

This is not Bosack’s only concern for Wilkes graduates. She says she has some concerns especially for graduates planning to stay in the area after graduation.

“The low numbers in the northeast and mid-Atlantic are still troublesome. Northeastern Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate of 9.2 is worrisome, as well. Candidates must be excellent to even have their resumes considered as the competition is fierce for fewer jobs,” Bosack said.

Bosack isn’t the only one who views the area as a difficult region to land a job in. Jessica Short experienced the trouble in landing a position in the region post-bachelor’s. She graduated from Wilkes in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and teaching and, after being denied positions in the Northeastern Pennsylvania region, decided to return to Wilkes to receive her Master’s degree in classroom technology.

“I was fortunate to make it into three different interviews for full-time positions in districts, but my lack of experience in the field left me as a less desirable option,” Short said.

Short was up for a full-time teaching position among 100 other potential candidates and made it to the final four after a series of interviews. The district did not offer her the position, but Short said she isn’t bitter about it.

“Although at the end of the day my lack of experience is what gave the position to another person, it was a great experience,” said Short. “Interviews can be intimidating, so I got some very valuable practice. I am able to substitute part-time, getting more experience for when that next full-time position interview comes up, and get a masters, which will also make me a more desirable candidate in the future.”

If students feel like they can use an edge for obtaining their first post-collegiate job, Bosack says she recommends a course being offered by Wilkes University’s Career Services. The course, titled “Career Planning”, will help students to improve their resumes, interview skills and career and graduate school searches. The course will also provide an opportunity for students to network with others in their professional fields.