Knight Ridder Newspapers
Adrienne Brown has sent out more than 40 resumes and
been on four job interviews recently. But if she doesn't
land a job by the time she graduates from Michigan State
University next month, she'll be working as an office
assistant at a campus dorm.
Brown, 22, is one of thousands of college seniors searching
for jobs in a tough labor market. Although hiring of
college graduates with bachelor's degrees is expected
to increase overall between 3 and 8 percent, it is declining
in some fields, according to a study released Nov. 20
The 33rd annual survey of 450 employers by MSU's Collegiate
Employment Research Institute found that while the job
market is improving in areas such as biological and
physical sciences, computer science graduates will find
Among the study's findings:
who majored in communications at MSU, is amazed at the
with hiring plans will create an approximately 9-percent
expansion in jobs.
are more likely to find jobs in retail, construction,
finance, health and hospitality and less likely to
find spots in manufacturing, transportation, professional
services and information services.
and co-op jobs are the preferred path to a job.
want candidates who communicate well and are willing
to learn new skills.
salaries are increasing only 1-2 percent and decreasing
in some fields compared to last year.
"There aren't as many openings now," said Brown,
who lives in East Lansing and works part time at MSU's
office of university relations and as an office assistant
at the Case-Wonders residence hall on campus.
"I'm competing with people who speak three languages
and have had more internships or have been in the job
market for five or six years. I'll just keep trying until
I find a job."
Phil Gardner, director of the research institute and author
of the study, said given the poor labor market of the
last three years for college grads, the 3-8 percent hiring
increase is good news.
"But we have engineers working at Home Depot making
half of what they expected," Gardner said. "Seniors
need to do some soul-searching about what makes them unique
and how they can match up with the companies seeking those
Andrew Patterson, who will graduate from MSU next month
with a bachelor's degree in marketing, is confident he'll
find a job soon. On Thursday, he interviewed with World
Kitchen Inc., a Chicago-based distributor of kitchenware.
The company expects to hire 30 new field sales managers
nationwide by June, according to Mike James, a company
recruiter who interviewed Patterson. World Kitchen has
one opening in the Detroit area.
The entry-level jobs will pay an annual salary in the
mid-$30,000 range, he said.
Patterson has sent out about 10 resumes.
"I'm confident I'll get something," said Patterson,
25, from Chelsea. "In interviews everyone has liked
me so far."
While he searches, Patterson will continue to work as
a part-time loan officer for a Jackson mortgage company.
Jennifer Mussman, a senior at the University of Michigan,
is participating in a unique program through U-M's Career
Center. She is one of five U-M students chronicling their
job search on a reality television-style Web site. The
candidates keep a diary of their job search on the site,
which offers career tips from recruiters and other job
Mussman, who graduates in the spring with a bachelor's
degree in communications, has sent out about 25 resumes
and been on seven interviews in her quest for a job in
retail or advertising.
"It's pretty competitive," said Mussman, 21,
from Grand Rapids. "When you go to a company presentation
you see 50 to 100 people and there are only 10 jobs available.
I'm hoping to find a job by the second semester, but that's
"Plan B is to move back home, work as a waitress
and keep searching for a job but I hope it doesn't come