The voice of and for USM students




Employment opportunities rise for college graduates

Photo by William Lowery.

Every year, thoughts of future employment occupy the minds of college seniors nationwide. After years of hard work, all one can hope is that it pays off in the form of a job. Here is the good news for university seniors: the job market is on an upswing. 

Local and national sources verify that post-graduation employment is at a high right now for all fields. This trend of increasing employment opportunities, in addition to the easy access to which people are finding jobs online, means that students who want to go straight into the workforce have a good shot. For students at Southern Miss, Career Services offers several resources to make that job search even more successful. 

Rusty Anderson, the director of Career Services, said the economy is favorable for students graduating this year. 

“We’re seeing all industries hiring right now, so I think that’s the current trend,” Anderson said. 

Though Southern Miss’ career fairs typically feature around 80 companies, the most recent fair included 105 companies, which Anderson said is an indicator of a strong market. 

Anderson said certain fields such as nursing and healthcare, polymer science, marketing and accounting have remained strong. He also said construction and education have made comebacks since the end of the recession. 

CNBC presented the top 10 highest-paying college majors, showing that technology, business, pharmacy and engineering fields pay the highest starting salaries for students just out of college. STEM majors continue attaining financial success above most other fields. 

In addition to a favorable economy, Anderson said employers are looking for a new generation of workers since many members of their workforces are retiring. 

“We have more jobs than we have students looking for jobs,” Anderson said. 

Assistant to the dean for student success and engagement Stacey Ready has worked as an advisor with Southern Miss’ Honors College since 2005. In that time, she has helped countless students figure out what they want to do after graduation. She agreed that now is a good time to be entering the job market. 

“Of the ones whose desires are to go into the world of work, they have no problem finding a job,” Ready said. 

Courtney Pierre graduated from Southern Miss in May 2019 with a degree in elementary education. Though she was afraid of not finding employment, she had great success with her job search.

With much of its workforce retiring, jobs in education are plentiful, Anderson said. 

“I was getting job offers from the first places I interviewed in March and continued to receive job offers until I got an offer from my first pick school district in June,” Pierre said. 

Now at Mandeville Elementary School, Pierre said she feels lucky to have entered the job market when she did.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers confirms the trend with surveys that showed that members of the class of 2019 entered the best job market for recent graduates since 2007. 

With the job market flourishing and technology ever advancing, the job hunt process is happening online.

With the hunts happening online, Anderson said he is seeing fewer students attending career fairs and other physical aspects of looking for a job.

Pierre, for instance, only went to two job fairs because most of her application processes were online.

In 2018, Southern Miss posted a record of around 77,000 jobs on Handshake for students to explore job opportunities around the country.

Ready agreed that job availability is no longer discovered primarily through fairs and physical meetings.

“That’s definitely something you do online,” Ready said. “So, the job postings through and LinkedIn and other sources like that are extremely valuable. And I know that a lot of students who are graduating utilize that.”

According to Undercover Recruiter, 89% of those on the job hunt believe that mobile devices are critical in finding a job. 

Accounts like LinkedIn and Handshake help students explore job possibilities they may not have even considered. 

Ready said that websites like these also increasingly connect students to overseas jobs. With Skype and Facetime, students can land a job without ever making any physical contact with an employer. Undercover Recruiter shows that both the U.S. and the U.K. are looking at a 58% rise in hiring from overseas. 

Along with these benefits for students, Southern Miss’ Career Services provides resources for becoming more marketable and attractive as a potential employee. Services like resume assistance, mock interviews and job seeking tips are available for students to take advantage of. 

For current seniors, the future may not be as daunting as they imagine. With the accessibility of the internet along with the growing job market, students can rest easier knowing that their hard work isn’t for naught.

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Employment opportunities rise for college graduates