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From Degree to Employment: Navigating the Job Market in 2011

Q&A with UAlbany Assistant Director of Career Services Noah Simon

The next step for many students at UAlbany is finding the right career path. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

As the Class of 2011 prepares for commencement ceremonies, the National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that new graduates will enjoy the best job market since the 2008 financial crisis.

UAlbany's Assistant Director of Career Services Noah Simon is an expert on career analysis, individualized career development plans, interview training and salary negotiation. He discusses the ins and outs of navigating the job market with a newly minted bachelor's degree in hand.

Q: What are the key issues facing graduating students in 2011?

A: For students approaching graduation they are seeing a job market that is starting to show signs of growth.  With that being said, it's still a very difficult market and if a student doesn't understand the process of identifying and competing for an opportunity, they will find it to be a very overwhelming task.  Another issue is trying to identify if they want to seek further education or enter the job market immediately following graduation.  Furthering one's education is great, but if it's only being done for the sake of avoiding the job market it may not be the most beneficial decision.

UAlbany Career Services Assistant Director Noah Simon

Q: How can graduates improve their job hunting prospects?

A: Job hunting is a very focused, targeted and comprehensive process. Students need to recognize what types of organizations and positions they should target. The skills students learn in college can be applied to a variety of industries. If you understand this and are willing to relocate, you will significantly increase your job prospects. The next step is identifying the appropriate individuals related to your specific job search. The networking function in a job search is absolutely crucial. Like most other aspects of job hunting, networking is a learned process.

Q: What is ā€œnetworking,ā€ and what role does it play in career advancement?

A: Networking is the art of creating and nurturing relationships. Most of us have been doing it our entire lives, but never thought about it from a professional aspect. It is an essential function within career advancement. Most individuals don't take the time to develop relationships, or if they do, they often lose touch with those individuals once they have reached their initial goal. Networking is a process that starts early in one's life and never ends. Many people only look to start proactively networking once they are looking for a job. True networking is creating relationships for everything from information to opportunity to growth within a career. Also, understanding that networking is a two way street. We often ask for and seek information or opportunity, but we must also be prepared to offer the same.

Q: What other skills must new graduates master?

A: Beyond networking, there are a host of intertwined skills that are required of new graduates. A great resume may get you to an interview, but if you lack strong interviewing skills you may not get the job. One piece of advice I would always offer is stay proactive. Many students often get frustrated quickly when they don't hear back from employers. Most of the time, I find that students are being reactive in their search, that is they are reacting to the positions they see posted on job boards or in the classifieds. Those job boards are a small part of any search. Most opportunities are not posted. Stay proactive, keep networking and identify organizations where your skill set can be utilized. Jobs are about filling needs and adding value. Career development is a lifelong and comprehensive process.

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