Seniors are looking for jobs as the labor market explodes

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As seniors seek post-graduation jobs amid a labor market boom, Loyola offers job coaching and other resources at its career services office. Although some students are not satisfied with the resources, they complain that the job posting site, Handshake, is not enough and the help is not enough.

Jon Rosenfield, associate director of career development, counseling and education, said this year Career Services created Loyola Launchpad, a Sakai site where students can refine their CVs, prepare for interviews and more. .

In addition to coaching and consulting, Career Services also runs Loyola’s leading job search platform, Handshake. On Handshake, employers can contact Loyola to post jobs for their company and interact directly with students via chat functions.

James Connon, senior associate director and employee relations for Career Services, said that since switching to Handshake a few years ago, the number of job opportunities for students has grown exponentially.

“It’s worth the time students spend getting into Handshake,” Connon said. “It’s more opportunities and better opportunities with better companies. It’s not the only place people should be looking, but it’s a great place to start.

Sof Bongarzone, a fine arts graduate majoring in drawing and painting, said after graduation she plans to get a tattoo apprenticeship in Chicago. Bongarzone researched various artists to work on their own and said Loyola did not offer help with their specific area.

“The thing about Loyola is they never really talk about tattoos,” Bongarzone, 21, said. “It’s not in art classes at all, it’s not an art form they talk about.”

For Bongarzone, the jobs on Handshake aren’t relevant to his field, so it’s not a helpful resource.

For now, Bongarzone is training on fake skin and tattooing a doll for their flagship project.

“I really like art, I like the idea of ​​making art on the body and carrying it with you rather than on the wall or something,” Bongarzone said.

Rosenfield said career center counselors can help students find jobs that match their skills and interests, help students understand networking in a less scary way, and provide context on career development. and the labor market.

He said a common hurdle for students is relying solely on online applications when most jobs require a bit of networking to attract people.

“It’s scary, it’s new to a lot of people, and we can coach students through this process and make it friendlier,” Rosenfield said.

Celeste Nieto-Amaya, an international business student, said she has yet to get a job after graduation, but hopes to get an entry-level position in sales.

Nieto-Amaya said she visited career services but did not gain much. She said they told her to use Handshake, which she was already doing, and she couldn’t find much.

“They are helpful to some extent,” said 21-year-old Nieto-Amaya. “People there are very nice but they just give you resources, a lot of it is on your own.”

She said it would have been helpful if Loyola had something like mandatory career sessions every year to vet students and get them started earlier in the application process.

Rosenfield didn’t respond if Career Services would start mandatory sessions, but encouraged students to visit the Center every year for more help.

Although Nieto-Amaya said his teachers have been helpful in job hunting, emailing about new job opportunities and editing resumes.

“Loyola’s resources aren’t the best and people who need jobs have to scramble ten times over because they don’t have that extra hand,” Nieto-Amaya said.

While the transition from student to workforce can be daunting, Connon said the job market hasn’t been this good in a long time. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5% and at least 400,000 new jobs were opened, according to the Associated Press (AP).

“There’s something interesting that I see, that I’ve never seen in higher education before, in all sectors, employers are saying, ‘We’re not getting enough applicants for jobs'” , Connon said, “So if you’re a college graduate and looking for a job, now is a fantastic time.

Because there are so many job opportunities, Connon said there has also been a change in the application process. Typically, companies recruit in September or October and close the application in February. Today, many companies leave their applications open throughout the spring months due to an intense need for employees.

Connon also said there have been major shifts in the job market, which were likely accelerated by COVID-19. For example, many recent graduates are now prioritizing quality of life, working fewer hours and advocating for higher salaries.

Remote work opportunities vary by company, Connon said. Some companies practice a hybrid method, others offer options to their employees, and some are eager to bring people back to the office.

However, for recent graduates, Connon said it could be helpful to explore in-person work if given the opportunity to network with colleagues and expand career opportunities.

“It can help increase your value to the business,” Connon said.

Sohini Thota, a senior computer science student, will work downtown as a data analytics consultant after graduation. She said she would work mostly online, but had the option to go to the office.

Thota said the IT department prepared her for working life, but she didn’t get much out of career services.

“I’m a research tech, so I took an internship course which basically taught you how to get a job after you graduate – which is just for computer science,” 22-year-old Thota said. . “What I really like about the computer science program is that they send out job offers every month in a newsletter.”

Although she said she was grateful that IT was small so she could make connections and gain opportunities in her career, career services should work to better support students.

“They really focus on handshakes to your freshmen and sophomores, but they don’t really tell you about all the jobs and Career Services resources…just more communication would be the best thing they could do,” Thota said. . “Sometimes I feel like advisors are just getting their quotas and doing their jobs instead of trying to be helpful in the real world.”

Rosenfield said career services tried new ways to communicate this year — especially for Loyola Launchpad — like posting flyers and including the resources in school report cards. He hoped that after this story, students might be more aware of the resources at their fingertips.

Rosenfield emphasized that Career Services help doesn’t stop after graduation and encourages alumni to keep coming back whenever they need help finding a job. He also said the office remains on campus during the summer months, so graduate students can stop by or schedule Zoom appointments if they continue their job search over the summer.

“We are one of the free resources on campus that are permanently available to alumni,” Rosenfield said.

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