By Matthew D’Annolfo / Special to The Recorder
Although the attitude of the Career Services office at CCSU remains very optimistic, the department cannot ignore the lingering effects of America’s struggling economy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate has risen from 7.2 to 7.6 percent in the month January, placing the number of unemployed persons at 11.6 million.
Economic downturn and shocking unemployment statistics are concepts familiar to Patricia Deloy, the Director of Career Services & Cooperative Education at the university.
“It was frightening,” said Deloy. “We could feel it coming.”
Deloy explained how the struggling economy does far more than simply limit jobs for graduating seniors.
“I’ve lost very valuable contacts,” Deloy said. “My best resource at United Technologies was let go.” Along with the loss of contacts, the amount of alumni looking for job placement assistance is at an all-time high.
“This May will make twenty-five years for me (at CCSU),” said Deloy. “I’ve been surprised by the number of alumni coming back. I have one or two on my calendar every day.”
Although the economy has changed, Deloy and the rest of the Career Services office have not lost their passion for helping CCSU students.
“We always reach out,” Deloy said. “We remain active and student traffic is up.” Deloy said that the Career Center will always be busy, in one way or another.
In addition to the career center losing contacts due to massive corporate lay-offs, Deloy says the Career Center has had to become more active in recruiting contacts for job placement.
In the past, the career center never had an issue with its number of contacts. Now, in times of economic crisis, there are far more students seeking employment than recruiters seeking employees.
“In a good economy we find the employers are in need,” Deloy said. “In a poor economy we find the students are the ones in need.”
While Deloy openly admits that some students may have trouble finding certain jobs, she encourages students to remain positive and active.
“Get some experience related to your major while you’re still in school,” Deloy said. “Experience helps you get to know people and sets you aside from the pack.”
In addition to gaining experience, Deloy encouraged students at any age or stage of college education to take risks.
“Try something new,” Deloy said. “Find something you are interested in and break into it.”
While actual job interviews are important, Deloy suggests that students be active and schedule what she calls information interviews.
“Sit down and talk with someone who has the job you want,” Deloy said. “Find out what the job is like.” Deloy said that students should not be scared to schedule information interviews. “People love talking about themselves,” Deloy said jokingly.
Although the Career Services office provides a friendly and helpful atmosphere, Deloy has noticed students hiding behind the comfort and anonymity of online job placement Web sites.
Deloy isn’t sure if this trend is due to America’s economic state, or students furthering dependence of online resources.
In either situation, Deloy feels that in-person job inquiries are the way to go.
“Don’t lock yourself in a room with a computer,” Deloy said. “Use career services please: it’s what we are here for.”
Even in times of economic struggle, Deloy’s message to students seeking employment is a positive one.
“Employers are still hiring college grads,” she said. “Employers are still attending job fairs.”
Deloy feels that a student’s best bet for finding employment is starting their search early, rather than later.
“Your job search starts now,” Deloy said. “I don’t care if you’re a freshman or a senior.”
The Career Services & Cooperative Education office is located in Willard Hall, Room 100.