You can do this
By Glenn Triezenberg, Director of Career Development

Career photoCalvin College alumni and graduating seniors face the most challenging employment market in decades. Michigan leads the nation in unemployment, and some say the worst is yet to come. National Association of Colleges and Employers data indicate that employment opportunities nationwide for graduating seniors are down 22 percent from last year. My net worth, like yours, is down at least 30 percent from what it was just a few years ago. So what’s the good news for Calvin students and alumni? What’s a person to do?

College or not?
High school students pondering the career dollar value of a high-quality Calvin College education, but concerned about cost and employment after graduation, need to know that the cost of a Calvin education is worth every dime spent. Over a lifetime, college graduates, even in bad economic times, earn twice the income of non-college graduates. While less expensive options are available, the employment value of a Calvin education continues to be worth the investment. As of April 15, 210 Calvin seniors have reported their graduate school or job plans to our office. That’s excellent real-world payoff! And these numbers don’t include students who have solidified their plans but haven’t yet reported them to us. Over the next six months, I project that 85 percent of the Class of 2009 will be enrolled in graduate school or employed. I’ll give you the exact number in an upcoming Spark.

If your sons, daughters or grandchildren attend Calvin, encourage them to meet with a career counselor in my office. Tell them to do it now! Goal-setting, career planning and internship work done with a career counselor now pays off at job-search time.

A sense of purpose and joy
Current hot careers (although nothing is guaranteed) are accounting, nursing, government sector administrators, computer science/information technology and health care. New and future graduates in these fields will have an easier job search than English and philosophy majors, though history has shown that liberal arts graduates eventually do very well as they assume management and leadership positions in the workplace.

I encourage the Class of 2010 to seek a career path that provides a sense of purpose and joy. Hot jobs and careers are not always fulfilling jobs and careers. Call me if you don’t believe this.

What it takes
The current economy and employment downturn present daunting challenges to new graduates and out-of-work alumni. But I talk to students and alumni every day who are finding jobs—more than 200 seniors so far this year. Mostly, success requires persistence. After being told “no” a hundred times, press on, painful though it is. All you need is one “yes!”

In this economy, the job search bottom line is: Don’t give up! Persevere! You can do this!

You Can Help!

Alumni networking is a key job search success factor. You can help graduating seniors and fellow alumni in the following ways:

1.  E-mail job openings that you are aware of to or call the career development office at (616) 526-6485. We will post the positions on CalvinLink and contact Calvin seniors and alumni who may be an employment fit for these positions.

2.  If your employer uses interns, full-time or part-time, during the school year or summer, e-mail your internship openings to Laurie Lemmen or call (616) 526-8744.

3.  If you are an employer and would like to partner with our office, e-mail Glenn Triezenberg or call (616) 526-6485.

We want to work with you!