Six thousand new graduates from the University of Arizona will be entering the job market after the Commencement festivities on Friday. Many of these grads are still looking for jobs, so how good are their chances looking of landing that first job quickly?
According to the university's career center, last year's grads are reporting a 2% higher rate of employment than classes before them. While it's not a huge figure, it's a sign that the market is improving.
"Our students are known for good problem solving skills, communication and teamwork," said Executive Director of the university's career center Eileen McGarry. "Employers actively seek out our grads because of that."
Daniela Constantino is about to graduate with a dual degree in Psychology and Spanish Literature.
"I'm really excited first generation, so it means a lot not only to me but my family as well," Constantino said.
She said that her time at the U of A really helped prepare her for the job hunt and possibly heading to grad school in the future.
"I don't think I want to go to graduate school just yet, I want to take some time of and enjoy the work field a little more," Constantino said.
Even with such a competitive job market, McGarry said more students are getting work and staying locally in Arizona. She said close to 60% of the graduates stay in Arizona either for work or graduate school, and 33% of those students stay specifically in Tucson. These numbers are higher than ever before.
"Close to 3 quarters of our students are either entering the job market or are already continuing their education to a graduate program and have been accepted," said McGarry.
McGarry also reported that the career center is getting a higher number of interested recruiters reaching out to hire U of A grads than ever before, which is a sign to her that the overall market is improving.
"There's a lot of jobs out there, so the most I can be is optimistic that I've worked this hard," Constantino said.
The career center urges students to not only work hard but to work smart and tap into resources they offer the campus.
The top 5 tips from McGarry:
1. Be sure to check the center's online portal where you can find networking opportunities and links to applications.
2. Join the U of A Alumni LinkedIn group
3. "Make sure you are polished and confident in how you are presenting yourself," McGarry said. "Being able to articulate the skills you gained in an interview is really critical."
4. Tap into your networks and contacts as soon as possible.
5. Be patient and willing to accept that your first job will probably not be your dream job. As long as it's a step in the right direction, that's all that matters.