Prepared for the job market

No matter what school they attend, most students are concerned about getting a job after graduation and launching their career. Luckily for Furman students, the numbers are in their favor.

During a time when the unemployment rate for recent college graduates is around 12 percent,  Furman has a placement rate of approximately 96 percent after graduation, which includes students entering graduate programs, said John Barker, Ph.d., director of career services.

Despite an uncertain job market, the placement rate has inched up recently because the university has placed a greater emphasis on the career services department which Barker calls “a role model for other universities.”

Part of that growing profile is a larger presence on campus. Once tucked away in a side corridor of the University Center, the office is now placed prominently in the renovated Trone Student Center.  In fact, it’s the first thing you see when you enter the main entrance.

“Last spring, we noted a 20 percent increase in appointments over the previous spring” said Dr. Barker. This is notable because until then,  he said, the number of appointments had been declining.

Career Services has also  launched a series of new initiatives through a Career Ambassador program in which student representatives are sent out to give presentations to Greek life organizations, classes, and other places to encourage students to take advantage of its services.

The office also employs a variety of online tools such as practice interview simulations, résumé development tools, and links to networking sites including LinkedIn which Dr. Barker calls “one of the best tools for connecting students and alumni.” The office also offers seminars on resume writing, job searching and job interviewing.

The university’s strong alumni connections help with job placement. But perhaps the biggest asset, Barker said, is Furman students. In general , he said,  they tend to be motivated, self-directed, well organized and ambitious, qualities that impress employers.

“These are the kinds of students we recruit,” he said. “And these are the students employers like to recruit.”