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Future graduates wary of bleak job market

By : Rabia Muhammad

Michael Sigismondo sat in the old University Union lobby, his loosened tie and exhausted facial expression said the sort of day he had.

He, like many of the other students in the lobby, had been networking and passing out their resumes to potential employers at last week's job fair.

"Hopefully something positive will come out of it,' said Sigismondo, the 20-year-old senior majoring in engineering, "but I'm skeptical."

He?s not alone. Many students expressed their anxiety about the diminishing opportunities in the job market though they attended the job fair that brought more than 50 businesses to Binghamton University.

Some of the businesses that attended the event, which was sponsored by the Career Development Center and Delta Sigma Pi, were Lockheed Martin, M&T Bank Corporation, the Internal Revenue Service and Binghamton Psychiatric Center as well as the U.S. air force, army, navy and marines.

Though most of the businesses that attended offered jobs or internships, U.S. army staff sergeant Phillip Bishop said he wasn't there to recruit students but to inform them of the benefits of joining the U.S. army and army reserves.

Bishop said about five people signed up for the U.S. army reserves in order to get $60 thousand for college-not fear of entering a plummeting job market.

"People look at us for our educational benefits, service to country and wanting to be apart of the world?s largest team, which is the army," said Bishop.

Other companies like M&T Bank were actively looking for 50 students to enter into its one-year management development program, which will begin in June.

"If students do well in school and are involved with their campus and community," said Brent Farrell, an M&T recruiter who graduated from BU in the summer of 2002. "The chances are better [for getting hired] than if they hadn't."

Though many students were not optimistic about the job market, most of the recruiters were optimistic. According to Jillian Kroll, employer relations coordinator for the Career Development Center, 20 additional employers participated in the fall job fair compared to last year. "As the economy rebounds and consumers regain confidence," said Kroll,"jobs follow."

Ian Reid, an AOL/Time Warner recruiter, was also hopeful about the economy. Reid said AOL/Time Warner hasn?t had to locally downsize though the company hasn't met growth expectations.

Reid advised that students should start out with internships to get their feet in the door. "We hire dozens of interns every summer," said Reid. As some students actively sought jobs and internships, others looked around to see which businesses attended the job fair.

Ingrid Martinez, a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in medicine, and Clara Zhanay, a 20-year-old junior majoring in sociology and Spanish, didn?t find recruiters for their majors.

"There's not much variety," said Martinez. "This is mostly business," said Zhanay. "I'm not expecting to find jobs." However, Kroll said that most students limit themselves when looking for employment. "It's not an easy process," said Kroll. "Regardless of majors, students should find out how they fit in with the corporations that came."

As for the advise Kroll would give to students looking for jobs after graduation, she said, "Leave a good impression on potential employers and make sure the employers match your value system. You don't want to spend your life at a job you don't like."

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Last Updated: 10/14/08