Seniors Face Graduation Fears at Job Fair
By Colleen Ervin
Graduation is soon approaching! Mandated meetings with advisors, nail biting mid-terms and finals, as well as saving for graduation fees are just the root of the redwood in the grand scheme of the anxieties that plague the graduating senior. Seniors aren't just graduating into a world of endless possibilities and prosperity, resulting from the nationwide financial slump they're graduating into a recession and possible poverty. Reiterating this pessimistic outlook that has tinted student's rose colored glasses to hazy gray; the question remains: how can an inexperienced new graduate compete in a society where it seems only the unemployment stock is rising?
While visiting Bowie State University's Career Fair with the task in mind of probing professional job recruiter's thought process on the basis of hiring; one couldn't help but feel as if I were partaking in a deliciously professional, business buffet. Every booth so appetizing, but with one question, what do future employers have a taste for?
"We're looking for GPA's of a 3.0 or higher" Karen Currie of FDIC explained requirements for their highly competitive, highly limited positions. The mention of a 3.0 may discourage some, however further discussion revealed something rather comforting. FDIC has particular jobs set aside for the recent college graduate. "These handful of positions are only available to those that have become acquainted with us through job fairs and university career centers."
The attire for the recruiters weren't limited to suits, ties, and professional pencil skirts; it also consisted of uniforms, badges, and firearms for some. Amongst a few police agencies the Prince George's County Police Department were in attendance.
"I believe that the economy has lead to more people turning towards police work," Cpl. Michelle Qualls said. "People applying to the police department have a fairer shot, and aren't turned away due to lacking qualifications. Applicants take a written test, and continue on the process if they pass. They next undergo an agility test. Upon completion of these two steps the only blockade in an applicant's way would be their background."
If your GPA isn't your lucky number and doughnuts are the only appealing aspect of police work all hope isn't lost. Strategically placed at the entrance/exit of the fair was the alumni booth. Just as Mom and Dad would comfort their child, the alumni staff offered advice guaranteed tried and true. Clarence B. Mollock president of the Bowie State's Baltimore Alumni chapter pleaded with job-seekers to be persistent. "Fill out applications online, then visit the office, let them see who you are." Mollock recently retired from a job he found at a BSU career fair. Alumna Estelle Johnson also urges students to do their homework. "Study companies, what they are looking for and what you can do for them, be prepared and professional."
Roberte Foster of the BSU scheduling department extended the same suggestion he offered a friend. When all else fails, volunteer for a company you're interested in. If you work hard with them and for them "I guarantee when a position opens you'll be their first candidate!"
Degree in hand, careers might not come as easily as Mom and Dad once promised post graduation. However, jobs are still out there. Jobs are promised to those who have the tenacity, persistence and creativity to unearth the buried treasures.