College seniors confront dismal job market

By Chuck Weber email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - The economy is sinking. Yet in just weeks, college seniors will finish their studies and hit the job market -- or what's left of it.

At Palm Beach Atlantic University, a Christian liberal arts school in downtown West Palm Beach, senior communications major Stephanie Wilson says she had hoped for a career in public relations or event planning. Now with the poor economy, Wilson says she'd gladly settle for teaching history, her minor, when she graduates May 10.

"Whatever I can get for now," says Wilson. "I need to get a job. I took out student loans for my education."

Wilson admits to being a bit discouraged. "I thought going into college that you can do whatever you wanted and pick whatever career," she says. "And now that's not how it is."

Just as things have changed for students, college career counselors also encounter a changed landscape. "It was very easy to counsel students," explains Sara Nicastro, Palm Beach Atlantic's career counselor, recalling recent years. "'What do you want to do?' and 'we'll find you a place doing that.'"

Now Nicastro advises students to be more flexible and creative with their careers. Same for the process of landing the job, which may include the Internet. "The more creative the job you're looking for, the more creative you can be in your job search," Nicastro says.

Nicastro also advises volunteering could give you a "foot in the door." And she says if you have the money, you might consider attending grad school, to allow more time for the economy to come back.

Along the same line, starting out in the armed services is another option. That's what PBAU senior Daniel Fairchild is considering for when he graduates in December. "It's always good to think about job security and employment possibilities down the road," says Fairchild.

Senior Kirstie Harris is trying to keep it all in perspective. She says, "It's easy to get bogged down, wonder what's going to happen. But you know, I trust in my God."