Job Market Outlook For 2016 Graduates
Graduation is quickly approaching for many college students. For those students trying to find full time jobs, it can be a challenge and overwhelming experience.
One week before graduation, students on the University of Illinois- Springfield campus are busy, all of them studying for finals and some preparing to hit the workforce.
"Long term, I want to be a police officer in Chicago," said Janet Howell who is a senior at UIS.
Howell has yet to land the job. She's already taken her entrance exam and the results could take years. In the meantime, she's moving back in with mom and dad.
"As long as I'm doing something I'll feel okay with myself. Even if its waitressing or bartending. Something will come along. I'm pretty hopeful," said Howell.
It's a hope Amber Alexander has been holding on to for five months. She graduated in December and wants to be a community organizer.
"I'm going to get there by pursuing my Master's degree and I'm also doing an internship in Springfield with the Faith Coalition for the Common Good."
Experts say the added experience could help her land the job. Reports show almost 40 percent of Americans have college degrees.
That's why Ron McNeil, UIS dean of the College of Business and Management, says you've got to make yourself more appealing during the application process.
"In academia, we teach too much book knowledge. There's not enough real world knowledge. To be competitive, you need real world knowledge," said McNeil.
McNeil says the job market is the best it's been in 10 years. He says hiring is up 3 percent.
"Those born in the 40's and 50's are retiring. The job market is a little better because we have a lot of people not participating in the job market. Employment is stabilized. Because you are getting the retirement, you need to bring in the new employees," said McNeil.
But even with the workforce accepting more graduates, students say it's still a challenge landing the gig they studied so hard for.
"It makes me feel a little better knowing I'm not the only one who's not going to be working in my field immediately," said Howell.