Advice for College Seniors Looking for Jobs

It's hard, but not impossible, to break into your desired field.

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Dear Alpha Consumer,

Do you have any suggestions for job hunting in this economy, particularly in fields which have been subject to budget cuts and hiring freezes? I've already made a list of which states I'm eligible to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor/Licensed Professional Counselor, and I've eliminated any desire for a job in a specific geographic location. I started sending out resumes in the past couple weeks so that I have a better chance of finding employment by the time I graduate at the end of May, but so far the only response I've received is "Unfortunately, we have decided to not fill any positions at this time" and the federal government response that I don't have enough points in the system.

There's no way to sugarcoat this -- current graduating seniors are in for a rough year. A recent Wall Street Journal article pointed out that people who graduate during a recession may be worse off for years to come. Part of the problem is that they take lower-paying jobs when they graduate, and then tend to stay in them, even after the economy recovers.

But that doesn't mean you have to resign yourself to a low salary, or worse, unemployment. Career expert Lindsey Pollak, author of Getting from College to Career, recently addressed this dilemma on her blog. She suggests trying to find personal connections to the companies you're interested in working for by asking friends, family, and anyone else in your network if they would make an introduction. For people looking for higher-level positions, she suggests working with recruiters through a professional-looking entry on LinkIn.com. And if you're applying for a retail job, Pollak recommends dropping off the application in person.

Good luck!