Degree in hand but job still elusive Times Free Press — Volkswagen Fox

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Degree in hand, but job still

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UTC senior Andy Burnett at his tie and slid the knot into

He ran his hands down his shirt knocking away any wrinkles or then looked in the mirror.

Mr. knew the competition is stiff. of Chattanooga undergraduate and graduate just like him with A’s and campus leadership experience are to elbow their way into the force.

“I don’t feel I am a bad interviewer. I feel like I a good personality,” said Mr. a finance major. “But you get out by one little factor. It is really stuff.”

There is a glimmer of for students like Mr. Burnett, who graduate today from the of Tennessee at Chattanooga with no job prospects. Job markets, frozen by the have begun to thaw spring.

That glimmer, however, is dimmed in this part of the Hiring is up in almost all reporting in most of the nation, but a new report the Southeast still lags in job

Overall, available jobs may 5 percent for 2010 college the first marked increase hiring began to tank in according to the National Association of and Employers, which tracks hiring projections.

But after a percent drop in hiring a ago and another 6.9 percent decline fall, the study shows the outlook for most graduates is far than when they college.

“Today’s graduates are in that window where the is under way, but employment remains weak,” said Dr. Fox, director of the University of Center for Business and Economic “The current graduates are the you would hire when you to expand your business, and just not enough of that on for many of them to find

Dr. Fox said many graduates may opt to to school or move back their parents while await a recovery to provide better opportunities.


On average, there are 40 applicants for posted job nationally, according to the Association of Colleges and Employers’ Unemployment in March was above 10 in both Tennessee and Georgia and is to remain near the double-digit for the rest of the year, according to in both states.

Chattanooga’s employers, including TVA, BlueCross BlueShield and Erlanger all said they are hiring college graduates this But with less turnover of own staffs and no robust growth in businesses, hiring remains muted.

“As people leave or we are hiring new workers,” said Jim UnumProvident’s vice president for communications. “But in this we’re not seeing a lot of employee

Unlike anything else, the downturn has changed the mindsets of regional college students their post-graduate job expectations.

students used to coast graduation day with average no work experience and no campus Then they would a job search and most would work, even in the career where they wanted to be, Jean Dake, director of UTC and Student Employment.

Today, students are lucky to get jobs as she said. Too many of them even get internships, and she said she some to volunteer their so they can at least get some and contacts at a business or nonprofit

“We have people who want to at a nonprofit who have worked at a their entire college she said. “Some people in and say ‘I have no clue what I can do my major.’. Few students have experience.”

On-campus employer has plummeted. At UTC, the number of coming to interview students is by 20 percent, Ms. Dake said.

At the school’s spring job fair, the of employer booths was down 8 She said students who attended that most of the people said they weren’t hiring.

“They are frustrated,” she “Some say, ‘I didn’t how hard it would be.’ Do you magically a job will appear you have a degree?”

Still, a number of students is learning to the job-hunt process early, that qualified candidates search for more than a said Michaela Gonzalez, who as a graduate assistant with UTC and Student Employment. She helps prepare for interviews and polish

In the last year, the number of coming in to get resumes critiqued or career services has grown, she said she is unsure of the exact


Ms. Gonzales, 25, graduate school in the heart of the in August 2008. She said she is about the uptick in job postings the last months.

She will today from UTC with a degree in industrial and organizational but has yet to find work.

“It isn’t undergraduate and graduate students I am going up against. I am going up people with five, 10 experience who have been off,” she said. “It is just element to overcome. But I am hopeful. I you have to be.”

For many the hardest challenge is making the of the holding pattern. Mr. Burnett know what the results of his interview will be, but he knows he find a job in finance without experience.

To pass the time, he and of area graduates will in graduate school this With exposure to new training and internships, he said he thinks a in business administration could be the start he needs.

“A lot of people are putting their on hold and going into school,” Mr. Burnett said. “A lot of my are hopping out with their (degrees) with no idea they are going to do. They are beat out with kids graduate school or kids internships. It’s tough.”

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