TODAY | December 28, 2011
>>> millions of americans are struggling to find work, a fact that isn't lost on college students preparing to begin their careers. so what can recent college graduates and kids who are still in school do to improve their unemployment odds? cat cohen is ceo and founder of ivy wise.
>> good morning.
>> graduates and parents look around, see the unemployment rate is 8.6% and they think there's no chance. is that true?
>> well, those numbers are scary but the good news is the unemployment rate for college graduates is only 4.4%. so you're twice as likely to be employed if you have a college degree , and i tell students, though, a job isn't just going to fall into your lap. students have to work for this. they have to be proactive. they have to network and utilize their resources and colleges are doing a lot to help students with the job placement . it's important when a student gets to their college , find out what the internship opportunities are and what the career service resources are available to them.
>> when you graduate i think employers are in some cases looking for work experience and a new graduate might say i don't have much work experience . i just got out of school iof school . what is your advice to them?
>> they're not only being counseled on which career path they should choose but being provided resources on resumes, cover letters to interview etiquette and exposing their students to various industries, helping with internship placement, they might be hosting career expos on their campus, they're inviting professionals to come and speak, preparing students with alumni so for example, barnard has a program called m.a.p.s., matching alumni to partner with students. an alumni will mentor a student and they have this program, take a barnard student to work and what's also great about barnard you can borrow a suit from their suitable suits closet for your interview.
>> that's a great program and the importance of networking and internships cannot be overstated in this case. let's talk about job sectors and salaries and where some of the hot spots are right now for jobs.
>> right, well according to the national association of colleges and employers, january 2012 salary survey, they're reporting that the top industries for job placement are hospitals, elementary and secondary schools, justice, retail, computer systems design and actually the highest salaries are going to graduates in computer science , engineering, business, and health sciences , and in terms of colleges, actually, the highest starting salaries are coming from mit, cal tech , loma linda , molloy and harvey mudd . those start between $60,000 and $70,000 for a starting median salary and that's really high.
>> the average salary overall is up year over year.
>> it is. they're reporting, nace is reporting for the class of 2011 , graduates, their starting salary is up to $41,701, which is up 2.3% from the class of 2010 .
>> so what do you say to those, all right, mit, i'm not going to mit. i might not go to an ivy league school at all. am i going to make anywhere close to that money?
>> you don't have to go to an ivy league school as we see from the top salary list, none of which are ivies. the select school is not a dealmaker. we tell students college is what you make of it. you've got to make an impact while you're there. you want to network with your peers and your professors, take advantage of academic and research opportunities, get involved in organizations and local community . ultimately employers are going to be looking for how you've made that impact while you're there. and they're also going to be looking for things, what i call soft factors so your work ethic , your communications skills, how well you collaborate with others, problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and those, you can get at any college so that's, you should really cast your net wide.
>> you make the point, too, if you're afraid of taking on a lot of debt to go to school it might pay off in the long run.
>> it does. graduates aren't coming out of school , with an average of $25,000 in debt, they are coming out with that average, but think of this in terms of long-term payoff. college is an investment that will pay off for the rest of your life. the college board reports that people with a four-year college degree will actually make $1 million more over the course of their lifetime than those with just a high school diploma . i always say the more you learn, the more you earn.
>> that will get people's attention.