Ramping up for the growing demand in labor market turnaround

May 8, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in career center | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Hiring is back in a big way on many college campuses, one of several signs a recovery in the U.S. jobs market is gaining traction, according to a recent article by Reuters. A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found 2012 hiring is expected to climb 10.2 percent, above a previous estimate of 9.5 percent. At University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the career service office has seen up to now a 7.4 percent increase in the number of interviews of students by potential employers from last year and the number of companies seeking to recruit for full-time jobs is up 9.2 percent. Career experts at a dozen of U.S. schools said they have seen an increase of 15 to 30 percent in the number of companies attending campus career fairs. Here’s what some colleges are doing to ramp up for the increased demand:

  • University of Maine:  The University of Maine is starting up a new internship program to help place students in the internship that will work best for the student and the company. This new program is part of the Innovation Engineering program which U Maine students can minor in during their time there. The Director of Economic Development of Initiatives Renee Kelly said this minor is not just for engineering students. This minor is open to all students and the goal is to teach students how to come up with new ideas, test them and see if those ideas work. Nate Wildes is getting ready to graduate; he is getting his major in political science a minor in innovation engineering, which is one of the reasons why he came to U Maine. He got that hands on experience during two internships as part of the innovation engineering program. Innovation engineering is expanding its program and is taking applications from all Maine college students who are looking for a summer internship.
  • University of Rhode Island:  The University of Rhode Island celebrated its new Office of Experiential Education and Community Engagement in a ceremony that included presentations from President David M. Dooley and Gov. Lincoln Chafee. The office was previously known as the Office of Internships and Experiential Education, and, before that, University Year for Action. Along with the change in title, the office features a new set of “experiential coordinators,” one for each college in the university, who work as liaisons between the academic departments and experiential learning programs, according to Director Kim Washer. “This is a way for us to streamline information,” she said. “By designating experiential coordinators for each college, we can work collaboratively with faculty on their current and future plans.” Washer explained that while most students and employers associate experiential education with internships, some students do not have room in their schedules to fit in a full-time or even part-time internship outside of the university. “What we’ve done is create an office that can meet the needs of the changing industry communities and work with faculty to increase this kind of experiential learning taking place in classrooms.”
  • The Ohio State University:  With summer quickly approaching, some students might find themselves turning to the Spring Career Day and other services in order to land a summer internship or job. Randy Dineen, an internship adviser for the College of Arts and Sciences Career Services, said that while the career services available to students differ based on the student’s major, many schools of enrollment offer similar services, including resume critiques, mock interviews, networking workshops and online job postings. The Spring Career Day April 3 will be the last career fair offered to students this school year. For Dineen, preparation is key for the event. “Research is always important to find out who is going to be there and what they’re hiring for,” Dineen said. “With 1,000 students and more than 100 organizations there, you’d be wasting your time without a plan.” Margaret Bogenschutz, senior director of undergraduate career management at the Fisher College of Business, said students should have a strategy going into career day. “Make a couple lists of 10 companies that you must see, and an additional 10 you’ll see if you get around to them to introduce yourself,” Bogenschutz said.
  • University of Connecticut:  Many students seeking advice to make the most of their internship experience are given frustratingly vague answers based in platitudes rather than particular experiences. This was not the case for Tuesday’s panel on how to turn an internship into a job offer. While the phrase “go above and beyond” was indeed uttered by all the panelists – and by some it was said three or four times – much of the advice was pointed and all of the tips from the three students who received offers for full-time jobs after their internships were based on their own experiences. The panel, hosted by Career Services, was composed of talent consultant for Cigna Health Insurance Allison Eastwood, two employees who were former interns for Cigna and Mary Reilly, a UConn student and Career Services employee who has a job lined up after graduation. Each person spoke on the importance of completing work thoroughly and on-time, communicating with supervisors early and often and asking to take on more work.

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