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Career Services helps students navigate tepid economy

November 12, 2010 12:00AM

A fter

Very few are here merely as a presence, whereas that really was the case for many of the companies the past few years. They're here to hire, and that is very encouraging. "
~ Mindy Cloninger, director of Career Services
what has felt like a very long economic downturn, Mindy Cloninger, director of PSU's Office of Career Services, is grateful for a fall semester that appears to have much more potential when it comes to students finding jobs.

Regardless of a national unemployment rate that still lingers at nearly 10 percent, the Career Services staff has been busy with a multitude of career fairs and employer interviews, and is seeing a greater interest on the part of employers to have serious discussions with students about jobs.

Students will have a chance to meet with businesses again next week during the Health, Human Services and Education career fair, which will welcome about 35 companies to the Student Center. The fair, geared toward students who hope to work in healthcare and educational services, runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18, in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom.

"My observation from the events we've had - Meet the Firms, Career Expo, Company Day - is that companies are hiring for internships and jobs," Cloninger said. "Very few are here merely as a presence, whereas that really was the case for many of the companies the past few years. They're here to hire, and that is very encouraging."

Over the past several weeks, Career Services has been busy hosting one-on-one student/employer interviews, which gives both parties a more in-depth opportunity to get to know one another. Although positions such as teaching are typically filled in the spring, fall is commonly the time for business professionals such as accountants to find jobs. Students who hope to have an internship in the spring are also seeking positions now.

So far this semester, Cloninger estimates the office has served as many as 1,500 students by helping them locate student employment, working with them to perfect a resume, or introducing them to a potential employer.

When the job offers just aren't there, as had been the case in recent semesters, the role of staffers is to be a different kind of support. During the last academic year, the office interacted with 87 percent of the PSU population, often helping students polish their resumes and interview skills in order to be prepared should they be offered an interview.

"That indicates to us that students understand the need for career and job search assistance," Cloninger said. "In the past 18 months, we've really found ourselves acting as cheerleaders, just encouraging people and keeping them in a positive frame of mind. Because when a person does get an opportunity to interview, they need to not get caught up in the negative concerns of their job search. Our staff has done a great job keeping them positive."

---Pitt State---

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