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Job Market Holds Promise for Grads

With the arrival of spring moving Dartmouth seniors closer to graduation, the question of what to do after college seems to loom larger than ever. "It's definitely something I think about," says Lindsay Gorzeman '04. "You hear so many negative things about the job market right now."

computer at desk
(photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Gorzeman's concern is echoed by many of her peers. But current estimates show that '04s may actually be entering the best job market of the last four years. According to recent news from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers project they will hire 12.7 percent more new college graduates this year, the first increase since 2000-01.

More good news: starting salaries are rising. Computer engineering grads can expect to earn 8.9 percent more, while those in the sciences can expect a 2.6 percent increase.

"It represents a small but noticeable improvement in the job market this year," says Monica Wilson, assistant director of career services for employer relations.

Wilson says her office has seen a greater number of recruiters coming to Dartmouth this year. "We're seeing a number of companies who had been absent in recent years making a return to campus," she says. "It's going to be a competitive year, but all of our recruiters tell us that Dartmouth students have a lot going for them. Their well-roundedness and their strength as communicators are the qualities we hear about most often."

According to Jenna Perry '01, assistant recruitment director for Boston-based Green Corps, Dartmouth grads can be counted on to be able to pick up skills quickly and to possess a certain political savvy. "I think the political activity on campus and through [the Rockefeller Center] helps," Perry says. "Also, Dartmouth students are able to perform political analysis. They pick up organizing quickly and have an interdisciplinary understanding."

Recent grad Asa Tapley '02, at work in Washington, D.C., for a public-policy firm, believes the work habits and skills he learned on campus have helped him in the workforce. "Pretty much everything I do [at work] is related to writing," says Tapley. "All the research papers I did at Dartmouth really helped me."

For seniors deeply immersed in the job search, it may be a comfort to hear that those who have found positions also believe a Dartmouth education set them in good stead for the professional world.

Dartmouth senior Aaron Sathre, who has accepted a job with a consulting firm in Boston, believes even interviewing skills benefit from the Dartmouth model. "One of the things Dartmouth helps us with is that through our classes and interaction with professors, we have a chance to practice expressing ourselves and backing up what we say with logical arguments," he says.

"I think it also teaches you confidence. You know, most of the time that you're going into an interview, you might get shot down. So being confident is key."

- By James Donnelly

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Last Updated: 5/30/08