The Job Prospects For College Grads In Houston

College graduates are facing one of the weakest job markets in more than a decade. A review of government data finds that, nationally, more than half of those who recently earned a bachelor's degree are either out of work, or underemployed.

Jamie Belline is the assistant dean for career services at the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston.  Bauer handles both graduate and undergrad students. Belline says, over the last year, there's been about a 30% jump in the number of companies calling her office looking for new talent.

"Energy's driving it all.  The energy companies themselves, and there are so many companies and industries that are supported by the energy industry.  So, the banks and the consulting companies and the technology companies that support the energy industry are all growing as well."

But what about students who've spent tens of thousands of dollars pursuing degrees that don't match with energy, finance, or information technology?  Dr. David Small is the director of career services for UH.  Small says he's telling students that much of what's happening in the job market right now is simply beyond their control.  But what they can control are their qualifications and preparation.

"Preparation means how well does your resume market your skills.  How skilled are you at interviewing?  Have you built your networks? What are the sources you're using for your job prospects? The Internet itself is not enough, but many students focus on the Internet."

Small says it's taking about twice as long as usual, up to six months or more, for new college graduates to find their first degree-related job.  But he expects hiring to come back to normal levels by this time next year.

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David Pitman

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