young. educated. eager. unemployed

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An award-winning story package that chronicles the challenges facing recent college graduates unable to find jobs in the weakend economy. The package ran in all 16 of Suburban Life Media's weekly newspapers and won first prize for Excellence in Business reporting at the 2010 Illinois Press Association awards.


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    Degree ln one hand, resume in the other: Many college gradsBySarahSmatland illaryBethVcrsaci

    ne day last spring, Ali Parentisat in a large leciure hall at theUniversity of Arizona, and herorofessor asked the class ofgiaduating seniors how many

    of themhad found jobs.Only one or two people raised their

    hands, Parenti said.The professor's casual poll aptly

    reflects the weakened job market andeconomy in general, and specifieally,the shortage of employment for thegraduated Class of zoo9.

    Parenti, zz, of Hinsdale, graduatedin May with a degree in communiea-tions, and months later, is still search-ing for a job.

    "It's a little bit frustrating butthere's tons of other people looking,too," Parenti said. "It's basically a bigcompetition."

    Elnrhurstrsident $Ean Trant tooks_ovcr her math books. Try" ryill.b" !"*hing math atMetea \talley Hlgh Schod in Auron aftergoing toth Uni$ersity of lilinois"

    Megan Trant

    Ben Westergaard

    Unernptoyed THE FUTURE? Afur lgr:aduate, lwant to beXIW MIIw IOBS APPI,JED FOR 1F20 an architect and have nry own firm.Conrpf,ld by JT nnrs,Catherine O"*t, Ufkq, fmnm ald t{koh Sosryrsld

    Out of school, into marketGraduates are entering a job market

    where the nationwide unemploymentrate was 9.7 pereent in August. Tbemarket is worse for people il Illinois,with a state unemployment rate of ro.5percent in fuly, and even harsher in theChicago, Naperville and ]oliet area,where it reached ro.7 percent thatsame month, according to the U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Many young graduates fall withinthe zo-to-24 age group, whieh is facedwith the largest national unemploy-ment rate

    - r5.z percent.

    Graduates are being hit hard in theeconomic downturn, wiih hiring col-lege grads straight out of school downg percent, according to a RecruitingTrends Research Report fromMichigan State University's CollegiateEmployment Research Institute.

    There have been fewer positionsposted by employers through theCenter of Professional Excellence atElmhurst College, said Peggy Killian,director of career education at thecenter.

    "They just don't have the positions,or they've had to cut back and have ahiring freeze," Killian said.

    Of the iobs available, many are

    A(#,22TOWil EtmhurstCOLLEGE University of itlinoisMAJOR Mathematics. with a minor in sec-ondary educationGRADUATED MAY 2OO9JOBSIATUS Employed by Indian PrairieSchootDiatrict 204, wilt be a math teacherat Metea Valtey High khoot

    HOW MANYJOBSAPPLIED FOR BEFOREGETT|N6 HIRED Apptied for teaching posi-tions in at least l0 ditferent schoot districtsbefore getting hired. Megan is retieved tohave been hired so quickty after giadua-tion; especially since applying for iobs was anerve-wrecking experience. Megan's parentsare absotutely thritted and excited for her tostart her new life and career.

    AGE22TOWNGten EltynCOI,IEGE Univenity of lltinois atChampaign-UrbanaMAJOR ArchitectureGRAIXTAIED May 2009EMPLOYMEHTSTATUS

    WHAT ARE YOIJ DOING IIOW?t'm workine part-tinre jobs forneighborcARE YOU COilSIDERING GRADSCH@L? I'm going to gmd schoolat University of lllinois because theiob marketstink.U/HAT ARE YdJR PL/AI{S FOR

    inapshotsrnnu burbantifd.Com/80379 6 Staff photo byErica Benson

  • Eager,UNElanded in a hostile iob market. NoW it's September and they're stitt wai

    being filled by older candidates whohave more experience in the workforce.That makes it difficult for recent collegegraduates to compete with candidateswho have worked in the field for years,said Sarah Zehr, assistant dean and direc-tor of career services for the College ofEngineering at the University of Illinoisat Urbana-Champaign.

    "Many people are looking at, oraccepting, jobs below their level,', Zehrsaid.

    Parenti has applied to about io jobs.She says it's possible she willbe offeredone of them, but with so many peopleapplying for the same positions, it will bedifficr:lt.

    "My main job for the summer is find-ing a full-time job," Parenti said.

    Crowding the call for helpMairreen Roach, senior assistant diree-

    tor of the career center at Illinois StateUniversity, said the centerhas become crowded inrecent months with stu-dents and alumni comingto take advantage oftheservices.

    "The comment I've beenhearing is, 'I didn't think itwonld take this long to finda job,"'Roach said.

    A common sentiment shehears from students is thatthey will take any job offered-

    an attitude unheard of afew years ago when the mar-ket was stronger.

    Throughout the past few months,Parenti has broadened her own horizonsin hopes of securing a full-time position,She originally was seeking a job in publicrelatibns or event planning because shehad internships in both those fields, butshe said she's now open to a job in mar-keting, advertising or publishing.

    In this economy, graduates need toaccept they might not be getting theirdream jobs right out of college and needto be more flexible with the jobs offeredto them, said Gail Rooney, director ofUniversity of Illinois' career center.

    When the economy is stronger, gradu-ating students are able to make moredemands of employers, Rooney said. Thatisn't the case now.

    , Vldeo!#T*rrnr

    "The biggest thing is you have to beless selective," Parenti said. ,,I don,tknow how many of my friends are in theirdream jobs

    - maybe none.,,

    Before she was director of the careercenter at Wheaton College, Ita Fischerwas a law student graduating in the midstof an economic slump. It took almost twoyears, but she eventually found ajob intechnology.

    "This generation doesn't know whatthat's like," Fischer said. ,,They've neverexperienced anything like this. Theydon't know how to handle it becausethey haven't had to."

    Part-time, no-time,grad school

    According to an exit suwey conductedby the University of lllinois, r8 percent of .the suweyed students had acceptedfull-time jobs at the time of graduation, downfrom z4 pereent in zoo8.

    This information corrob -orates a sfudyperformedby the National Associationof Colleges and Employers,which indicated only r9.7percent of the zoog gadu-ates who applied for jobshadthem.

    The University of Illinoissurvey also included infor-mation about gaduateschool. In the survey, z4percent of participants had

    ffi;ffi#**' ''ii.:. beenacceptedtograduate

    school for the followingacademic year, as compared to zt percentinzooS.

    According to figures from ElmhurstCollege's graduate school, applicationsfor fall zoog were up by almost tr percentfrom fall zoo8. In contrast, fall zooS hadseen a drop of seven percent in applica-tions from fall zoo7.

    However, graduate school is not alwaysthe best option, said ]eff Denard, directorof Career Development at North CentralCollege. Graduate school makes somepeople more marketable, but the effectdepends on the industry.

    "People have to ask themselves, ,Am Igoing to grad school for the right reason?'If you're hiding, grad school may not besuccessfirl." Denard said,

    PLOYIThe Career CounselorPeggy Killain, director of career educ;Center for ProfessionaI ExcellenceElmhurst CollegeI90 Prospect Ave;Elmhurst(630)

    What can students do to makethemselves more marketable?Lately we've been kicking things into highgear simply because of the economicdownturn. We stepped up opportunitiesfor students to network and get in front ofemployers. We atso urge students to getinternships and attend career fairs as muchas possibte. That is what they're going tohave to do much more than ever before.Students need to connect however they can,meet people and network the skills to pres-ent themselves well.

    ls going to gnduate school beneficialtogetaiob?It seems like a tot of students are consideringgrad schoolmore than ever before. I think it

    rsaverylway the iage, you ibachetormore, Th,the Peacrmight nothey do o

    HowhaschangedThey havhave patibasis. Grebecause tlot of stu

    The RecruiCarlBarnard, maKristen Krope, miCompany Advanrl90l Butterfietd tDowners Grove(630) 4e3-9ritwww.advancedrr

    t{hat specifictnit arcyou lookingfor in a additionagnduate? work exDeCommunication, and graduates that are sure volunteeraboutwhattheyVanttodoandarevery co[ege, Mspecific about it. They should be enthusiastic require a rand engaged in the job search. We see some your footpeoplethataregenuinetyinterested,and recentlvirsome that are just there because they assume full-time ithey need to get a job. We like people who are though it:verycareer minded, and search fortheir job for he was inlafter cottege while they're stillat schoot.

    DoesgradHow much experience is recommended? difierencrlf you have additionaleducation, certi- lf linterviefications or skilts, it may make you more stand out,competitive in the job market and open up scale. A GFCompiled byAlllson Home

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  • PLOYID,and they're stitt waiting.

    The Career CounselorPeggy Killain, director of career educationCenter for Professional ExceltenceEtmhurst Cottege190 Prospect Ave:Etmhurst(630)

    What can students do to makethemselves more marketable?Latety we've been kicking things into highgear simpty because of the economicdownturn. We stepped up opportunitiesfor students to network and get in front ofemployers. We atso urge students to getinternships and attend career fairs as muchas possibte. That is what they're going tohave to do much more than ever before.Students need to connect however they can,meet people and network the skills to pres-ent themselves well.

    ls going to gnduate school beneficiattogetaiob?It seems like a lot of students are consideringgrad school more than ever before. lthink it

    is a very positive choice, especiattywith thewaythe industry isgoing. ln this dayandage