For America’s college class of 2008, the recession was present, but not overwhelming, but a year later; the search took a little longer for many, but employers still had a sizeable number of entry level jobs to fill. A year later, the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that employers expected to hire 22 percent fewer graduates than in the previous year. Another 2 percent drop is anticipated for 2010 grads.
This raises two questions: What is Belmont doing to prepare its students? Do students feel ready to enter an uncertain job market?
Patricia Jacobs, director of the Office of Career Services, offers an optimistic look at career opportunities for graduates. Jacobs says that with the changing job market and current recession she chooses to take a more holistic view of finding students not just jobs, but careers.
“We’re focused on helping you discover your interest and skills and what you would like to do. Rather than focus on one job, we are looking for careers,” she said.
Some students are a bit less hopeful and say they have mixed feeling about going out into the job market for the first time. While they feel well taught by their professors, it is the factors of actually finding a job that seem foreign.
I do not feel prepared in finding a job; i.e. making a résumé, interviewing, manipulation techniques, or even how to look for a job, said Frances Anderson, a senior art major. I do feel happy with how my teachers have prepared me in the particular subjects, such as my Painting Three teacher teaching about how the art world really is, and my design teachers setting up events where past graduates come and talk about the jobs they now have.
Other students are equally as worried, if not by their ability to find a job, then by how prepared they are for their specific field and how quickly industries are changing from their traditional formats.
“In the audio engineering program at Belmont, they do very little to prepare you for the real world of the recording industry,” said senior Eric Green. “Only a couple select classes that you take as a senior, with audio professionals as teachers, shine light onto what the industry is and is like. Belmont also fails to teach any sort of digital editing or vocal tuning classes. They seem to look over the fact that most commercial music these days is chopped up on computers and tuned to perfection.”
Senior commercial voice major Bobby Banister has another opinion on how well Belmont has prepared him for the music industry.
“I think the thing with Belmont is you get what you put into it,” Banister said, “You can get a great education or you can coast, but I do feel ready to enter the ‘real world’ because I have spent countless hours practicing what I want to do for a career and meeting people who know more about what they are doing than I do.”
Others feel that Belmont has prepared them well to tackle their changing field of choice.
“Not only has Belmont given me a well rounded experience in the medical field by providing me different clinical rotations, but I have professors who keep us current on the changes in the field as far as things like insurance and government policy,” said senior nursing major Heather Rattigan. “I feel very equipped to enter the ever changing world of medicine as a nurse.”
With all of the changes taking place in so many career fields and CNNmoney.com reporting another 1-2 percent drop in hiring ratings for 2010 graduates, college students need resources for their job searches.
Career Services offers interview training, résumé help, alumni networking and job sites just to name a few. Furthermore, they plan to hold a job fair at the Tennessee Fair Grounds this spring. Another valuable asset is Career Connector, a Belmont Web site that links students with internships and job openings. For more information on Career Services or to make an appointment, visit http://belmont.edu/careerservices.
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