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Biotechnology, Russian minor
Chicago IL

The Job Hunt

Sarah Alef on Friday, 27 March 2009. Posted in Life After RIT

It's that time of year again...all of you freshmen out there are eagerly anticipating the day when you will no longer be residing at home, and all of us seniors in college are...dreading graduation?

To be perfectly honest, I'm not looking forward to seven weeks from now.  I don't have a full time job yet, and while I've been looking more or less non-stop since January, this is not a great year to be graduating from college.  Entry level positions have gotten fewer and further in between, and in the biotech industry, there's been 4 mergers of top ten companies within the last 4 months.  Each of those mergers mean job cuts and pooling of resources, which does not lend itself to those of us hunting.  I've been working extensively with the co-op office for the last month or so, but so far no bites.  To be fair, I did choose to do a study abroad instead of a co-op, so my lack of industrial experience is my own fault.  

On the other hand, I'm thrilled to be done with school for a while.  I will go to grad school eventually, but I've finished college in three years, and I think I deserve a break.  I'd like to work for a while, maybe go back to school after I've saved some money and lived a bit.  I'm young, I'm unattached geographically, and everything I own fits in a Toyota Yaris.  If employers are looking for flexibility, I've got it.  And I do have a summer job lined up.  I know everything will work out in time, and I also know that I'm not the only one job hunting.  Unemployment is up at a national high of 7% or higher in some states, and at least I have family and coaching experience to fall back on.  

I went to a 2 job fairs this week, one of which had a panel where questions were asked of hiring managers and executives about what they look for in an applicant.  One of the most important things that all interviewers agreed on was that an applicant should possess the typical things like a sense of flexibility, willingness to learn, etc, but that they should be aware of scope of their limited experience, esp new college graduates.  You will not leave college with a B.S. and 10 years of industrial experience in your field, regardless of how talented you are.  We college kids need to realize that education is not necessarily a substitute for experience, and that those "old folks" still working in the lab or office have a lot to teach us, if we're willing to learn.

Not to be a downer, however, I'd like to remind incoming freshmen that job placement is not guaranteed once you graduate.  You may think you qualify for that $100,000 K a year job as a CEO, but trust me, with a bachelor's...not even close.  Finding a job is entirely up to you, and you need to be wiling to not only put yourself out there, but also to face rejection and maintain a positive attitude.  Experience is not something that's just granted to you out of college.  It's a lot like respect in the sense that you earn it over the course of time.  I'm confident that I will find a job within the next six months, because I see no problem in starting at the bottom.  Your degree is a stepping stone into the world, and while it will certainly open up a wider range of jobs, it does not come with an employment guarantee.  Best of luck to all seniors searching!