April 20, 2015
Hundreds of students will be graduating in less than a month, and they’ll need jobs.
But most of those graduates may find themselves struggling to find a suitable position in their field.
According to the 2015 Economic Forecast for Metro Denver, “the Colorado Springs metropolitan area has experienced a slower growth rate due to its reliance on military spending.”
Because of the dependence on military and computer science fields, graduates may find themselves in difficult positions when it comes to making a living.
Bev Kratzer, director of the Career Center, said that “liberal arts and business students are very underemployed.”
She said that several graduates are still working in their survival job, the job that pays the bills but has no profitable advancement.
“They don’t really know how to look for a professional job. They don’t even know necessarily what is classified as a professional job.”
According to Kratzer, a professional job is an entry-level position that looks at requiring or preferring a bachelor’s degree.
“They value the fact that you have that degree and there’s going to be movement there for you,” she said.
Kratzer aims to educate students about the difference between professional and survival jobs through the Career Center.
“Part of the problem, I think, is that most everyone is very busy with their survival job, and school, and homework, and projects, and family, and whatever, and they don’t pay attention to any kind of opportunities that are available on campus,” she said.
In order to encourage awareness, Kratzer creates two career fairs each semester. One fair is geared specifically towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields, and one for general fields. But students don’t seem to be aware of the opportunities.
“I promise you when I talk to students who are graduating and I say ‘So, did you go to the career fair?’ they didn’t even know there was one,” she said.
It’s often after graduation that several students come back and seek advice from the Career Center.
“It’s not necessarily too late, but it does put them behind a little bit,” Kratzer said.
Kratzer suggests looking into Clyde’s Careers, the university’s online job resource for students looking for professional positions.
But for those struggling to find something suitable locally, she suggests shifting to the Denver market.
According to the same economic forecast, about 60 percent of employment growth in Colorado is in Denver. It is the strongest economy in the country currently.
“You can start a career here, but it’s really hard to grow a career here in Colorado Springs,” she said. “It’s difficult. We kind of live and die with the military. And that’s the way it is. There are good things about that, and there are some not good things about that.”
Military bases can provide civilians work and various career opportunities, but the fields are very specific and limited.
Therefore, Kratzer encourages students to look outside of Colorado Springs, specifically Denver if they want to stay in state.
“I feel like I have to because otherwise you just end up being underemployed all of the time,” she said.
As a regional hub, Denver boasts more diversity in jobs, allowing for more opportunities and growth.
Workshops at the Career Center
April 23 9 a.m to 2 p.m.
April 30 9 a.m to 4 p.m.
May 7 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Advice for graduates from Bev Kratzer, director of the Career Center:
• Know the specific area that you are interested in for a career. Don’t use the “shotgun” approach because it will seem desperate to employers. “It is still an employer’s market and they still have choices. And as long as they have choices, the job seeker has to pay more attention.”
• Narrow down your field of interest, make a strong resume and make sure you have something to tide you over so you don’t get into desperation.
• If you don’t know what you want to do, go the Career Center to seek advice.