Recession hits graduates hard

After believing that taking on thousands of pounds of debt would significantly boost job prospects students are now being forced to settle for basic jobs and even face unemployment. | Photo: Hitthatswitch

Many graduates are being forced to re-think their career paths even after committing to three or more years of university.

Lincolnshire student Peter Freeman is graduating with a BSc Geology degree and was planning to move into the oil  industry but is now leaning towards a career in business management.

Having already been pushed into changing career path, Freeman is now considering settling for any job he can find for a period of time.

“I have resigned myself to getting a job I’m not that interested in for one or two years, but once I have experience I hope to have more success in getting a job I really want to go for,” said Freeman.

University of Lincoln careers advisor Sandra Whitmarsh insists that not all of the media hype about recession is to be believed.

Whitmarsh said: “There are graduate jobs out there but there are a lot of people applying for the same positions. Students have got to offer something extra in their CV such as work experience”.

Freeman only has summer jobs to offer as work experience and feels he could not afford to start searching for unpaid work experience now.

“I have worked hard to stay out of debt by saving since a young age and holding down a part time job while at University. I concentrated on my degree and now that I am expected to have specific work experience it is very frustrating and I would only consider unpaid work experience if I was sure there would be a good job at the end of it,” said Freeman.

Glyn Turner, a director at Impact Boston Ltd — a large Lincolnshire employer, deals with a lot of job applications and has several ideas about what can appeal to an employer.

“A CV can only contain so much but I look at social aspects, for example, someone who has commitments like a wife and children would be more likely to have motivation to work and be more reliable. This obviously doesn’t favour graduates but if they can show that they have some sort of life experience aside from their degree course it would make them stand out,” said Turner.

Turner also commented on the idea of students trying to build up work experience while at university.

He said, “Work experience shows that a graduate has been able to apply the knowledge they have gained from university to a real life situation and this would impress any employer. The only issue is that a two week period is not long enough as experience needs to be built up over a matter of months so it may be best to allow for a period of work experience after graduation”.

2009 will be a hard year for graduates and it seems that it may be necessary to compromise aspirations of big salaries to gain some valuable experience. It is important for students to try and make sure that they do not bleed their savings dry while at university as they may still be needed afterwards.

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