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From college to career: Seniors transitioning into the professional world – Ashley Williams

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CWR Student’s Forum

September 2011

From college to career: Seniors transitioning into the professional world

By Ashley Williams


Ashley Williams, CWR Student Correspondent, Florida A&M University

Ashley Williams, CWR Student Correspondent, Florida A&M University

It is that time of the year again when thousands of incoming freshman’s are gearing up for the next four to five years of their life to spend in college. Students are packing dorm rooms and small apartments to capacity with laptops and books and embracing on a new journey that will help them take their life to the next level. Most of us have been preparing since high school for college and we have had some sort of idea of what to except, whether it be through conservations with people or family members or campus visits, we have had an idea of what is to come. Freshman year is the most fun and exciting year to be in college. Football games, fraternity parties and pulling all nighters is something that most college students will become accustom to but for those students whom are coming into their senior year are looking at stepping into a downsizing economy that could make it extremely difficult to find a post grad job.

Transitioning from college to career has been a major issue concerning new grads. According to the national Center for Education Statistics, about 2.4 million students graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s or associates degree, but a careerbuilder.com  survey stated that only 44 percent of employers  plan to hire recent college grads. The bureau of Labor Statistics states that the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree college graduates under the age of 25 was 13.1 percent in July, 2011 vs. 11.7 percent in July, 2010 and 7,000 more bachelor’s degree grads under 25 are currently unemployed than at this time last year. So where does that leave your hard earned degree, those endless nights you spent up all night studying and that dream job that you just knew you would attain after graduation?

“There is way more competition in the market than there has ever been before,” said recent graduate of University of Texas at Dallas, Jaime Gales.

“Basic degrees just won’t cut it anymore and if you don’t build relationships with the right people or build your resume with internships in your field, finding a job after graduation is going to be an obstacle for you,” said Gales.

Anysa Wilson, who graduated last spring with a degree in business administration in marketing from Florida A&M University, says she had to settle for a job as a retail manager at women’s clothing store to earn a paycheck. She is making money but the fulfillment of the job is not there.

“The problem did not come in finding a job; it came in finding a career. I had jobs in college; I want something that challenges me every day and this path is not where I want to be.”

Wilson said if she could she would have done more internships to gain more experience.

“These companies don’t want to hire you if you do not have at least some entry level experience in whatever field you are trying to go into,” said Wilson.

“I know I will find the career path I want, I just wasn’t prepared for it to take this long, so in the meantime I just do what I have to in order to pay my bills and student loans off.”

While there is a negative side to career placement for upcoming graduates some industries such as accounting and retailing are hiring recent grads, but unfortunately your future salary can be based on what degree you pursued in college.

According to CBSmoneywatch.com, the highest paying degrees are those in engineering, mathematics and sciences such as computer science, physics and bio chemistry, with some salaries starting out with as much as $97,000 a year.

Although this economy has left some grads with a sense of uncertainty about their future and finding their dream career, preparation has become the key to success.

Myriam James, recent psychology graduate of Florida State University says that building your resume and attaining internships throughout college has a major impact on being able to find a good job after graduation.

“I had an internship every semester, most were unpaid or were for little or nothing but I gained experience and that’s what is most important.”

“Without experience these companies don’t want anything to do with you period, I had friends that struggled to find a job after graduation and I was determined to not let that happen to me,” said Wilson.

Wilson opted to continue her education and is attaining her master’s degree while working as a case worker for the Department of Children and Families.

Today’s graduates face a tough job market and a commandingly obscure professional future and in this professional world these recent graduates are entering into, the only thing constant will be change.



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