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Outlook for 2009 Grads: Good Jobs Available for Flexible Candidates

Outlook for 2009 Grads: Good Jobs Available for Flexible Candidates

Margot Carmichael Lester, Monster Contributing Writer

September 10, 2009

Sherman Murdoch, who is graduating in June with a degree in mass communications from Tennessee State University, is frustrated. “I’ve been consistently searching job-related Web sites, networking with people in the know and working on my craft,” he says. Still, Murdoch is worried he’ll end up “working a job that I’m not passionate about or that I can’t learn from.”

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He’s not alone. One-third of collegians are worried about landing a suitable gig, according to Monster’s 2009 survey of students, recent grads and employers. At the same time, 54 percent of surveyed employers still plan to hire college graduates — just not as many as last year. For instance, Enterprise Rent-A-Car will hire about 8,000 grads for its entry-level management training program, down from 8,500 in 2008.

So if you’re a new grad trying to land one of these jobs, how can you stand out? “Candidates should do their homework and be educated about the companies they are applying to,” says Marie Artim, Enterprise’s assistant vice president of recruiting. “They should know what sets them apart from other candidates; specifically, they should be able to speak to their successes or unique experiences.”

The class of 2009 is graduating into a different world than when it entered college, which may require some to look for work outside their majors. But recent grads should not let that come through as they embark on the job hunt. “Even if the industry or position isn’t their first choice, you still want somebody that you believe will stay with your company,” says Nkere Udofia, vice chairman of Blinds to Go, based in Iselin, New Jersey. The company plans to hire about 400 graduates for its management and manufacturing leadership programs. “You want a graduate who has truly considered the options and likes what you have to offer. There’s a big difference between being open and being desperate.”