2012 brings positive hiring trends, DU Career Center changes
May 21, 2012
By: Amber D'Angelo Na

With Commencement right around the corner, many soon-to-be graduates may be wondering what the job market has in store for them. According to Sue Hinkin, executive director of the DU Career Center, the market is improving, albeit slowly.

“We’re definitely starting to come back, but it’s probably the slowest comeback since the ’70s,” she says.

Survey data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) confirm the upward trend. According to a NACE report, employers plan to hire 10.2 percent more college graduates from the class of 2012 than they hired from the class of 2011. The same report says employers have an average of 116 job openings, up 10.5 percent over last year.

Despite the positive climb, the job market remains competitive, and Hinkin says graduating seniors must be persistent in their job search.

“Prior to the big economic meltdown, within three to six months most students were working in their field,” Hinkin says. “Now it’s probably taking six to nine months to really get what they’re wanting.”

She says the biggest areas of job growth are in the information technology and health care fields. Regardless of the industry or position type, employers want to hire graduates who have applicable work or internship experience, Hinkin says.

“They just don’t have the staff and the funding to be able to do the type of training they used to do five years ago,” she says. “That internship or some kind of work-related experience is absolutely critical.”

The DU Career Center has a number of services to help students and alumni with their search, including:

  • • A Professional Network of more than 1,200 DU alumni willing to speak to students and alumni about their careers and industries
  • • A network of more than 650 employer contacts
  • • A job board with more than 500 jobs and internships available exclusively to DU students
  • • A NACElink Extended Job Search board with more than 6 million job opportunities worldwide
  • • Individual career advising
  • • Career and internship fairs
  • • Workshops on writing resumes and cover letters
  • • Informational seminars and networking events with employers and alumni
  • • Interview preparation assistance
  • • Career assessments
  • • Podcasts, videos and links to additional career-related resources

Services are free to all DU undergraduate and graduate students and alumni within the first year after graduation. Other alumni receive a 90 percent discount off market rates.

“A lot of students really don’t take advantage of what’s available,” Hinkin says. “Research has shown through NACE that students who use the resources of a career center will find a job much more quickly than someone who doesn’t because we can help people get really focused and get their strategy clear.”

Hinkin was hired in November 2011 as part of a strategic plan to improve the Career Center’s operations. The center also added four other positions: a career adviser for students in the arts and sciences, a director of employer partnerships, a marketing and events manager, and a data analysis and systems manager.

Additional career services will be added within the next year. These include job shadowing opportunities for first- and second-year students; a newsletter with career information for recent graduates; more streamlined job search software; a job database specifically for PhD students; a library of one-minute video clips from alumni explaining what it’s like to work in their career fields; a scholarship program to allow students to pursue unpaid internships; and more comprehensive business and employer relationships.

Starting this year, the Career Center will survey alumni nine months after they graduate to gather information about how many DU graduates work in their field, where they work and how long it took them to find jobs.

“We’ll make that data available to whoever wants to know,” Hinkin says.

The Career Center also plans to rebrand the Professional Network, revise its social media strategy, redesign its website and add a live chat feature with its career advisors.”

“Choosing a career and a major, it’s all very amorphous, confusing, anxiety-producing stuff,” Hinkin says. “So if we can provide a roadmap for every year with checkpoints and a thermometer that goes up that shows ‘this is how much you’ve completed,’ I think that will really help students, so they have a little bit more structure.”

“Hopefully a year from now [the Career Center] will be much more accessible, and there will be much more awareness about the resources for students,” Hinkin adds.

For more information or to schedule a career advising appointment, email career@du.edu, call 303-871-2150 or visit www.du.edu/career.

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