College seniors face a tough road

December 5, 2008 8:42:55 PM PST
So what about the seniors about to graduate from college and head into the workforce? [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

They're facing an even more uncertain future than those who've graduated before them and their schools and their parents are sure letting them know it.

More than just discouraging, the latest unemployment figures are downright scary. Even more so, if you're senior set to graduate. Natasha Hooda is getting her degree in finance from the University of Houston.

"I'm excited to get out there to make use of the things I've learned in school, to meet people, to make the money, to get started in my career but I'm nervous too," said Natasha Hooda who is a UH senior.

Nervous because the unemployment rate now at 6.7%, the highest it's been in 15 years.

"The positions are much more competitive now and students really have to keep on top of things," Hooda said. "But I'm doing my best, making sure my Excel skills are good, trying to learn a different language, just trying to be on top of it and get myself out there."

Just about every industry is being hit hard. Financial firms, manufacturing, construction, retailers, and travel and leisure have all seen large layoffs.

"Even when the economy is good, it's a very stressful situation to go through a job search," said Brett Hobby of UH Employer Services.

As director of employer services at the UH Bauer College of Business, Hobby deals with the more than 2,000 companies looking to hire graduating students. While he's seen a decline in the overall number of available positions, the news isn't all bad.

"For events that we already have lined up for the spring, we are still seeing a good amount of registration from companies across all industries so that is encouraging," Hobby said.

Hooda says a little encouragement is all she needs to hang her hat on until the job market improves.

"I don't want to let it get me down," she told us. "I don't want to give up. This isn't a good time to do this. You really need to continue and push."

Graduating seniors are encouraged to take part in any training programs that a company might offer. Those are like internships, but for students who have already graduated college. Many times those opportunities lead to full time jobs.

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