Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Student Preparation and Personality Traits in the Job Market

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Student Preparation and Personality Traits in the Job Market

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION AND MOTIVATION

The Federal Reserve recently released reports indicating the economy is strengthening throughout much of the United States. Five Fed banks, including Boston and San Francisco, said the economy grew "at a slight to modest" rate, while five others, including New York and Chicago, reported a "somewhat stronger pace of economic activity." Conditions were reported as "mixed" in the Philadelphia and St. Louis regions. (Zumbrun J., 2010) These indicators, along with jobless claims reaching their lowest point in November 2010 since July 2008, all seem to be positive signs for job markets. However, even with the private sector improving and the Fed's announcement of $600 billion in asset purchases to help cut unemployment, the decline of unemployment will likely be a slow process. (Zumbrun J., 2010)

While the present economic situation provides a threat to all in the workforce, it also poses concerns for upcoming college graduates. After years of education, eager graduates find themselves in the turmoil of job shortages. In addition, graduates not only have to compete with their peers, but also with individuals who already have years of work experience and industry expertise who were laid off due to the recession. There are many sides to this debate; some argue that recent college graduates have the upper hand because they equate cheaper labor as opposed to the well-qualified or over-qualified applicants. Adding to the "cheap labor" argument is the fact that graduates are not being offered the same caliber of salaries that were seen prior to the economic downturn, which is to be expected during a time when many professionals are taking pay cuts just to keep their jobs.

A glimmer of hope exists with a flat-lining of unemployment versus the sharp increases in 2009, but the shape and duration of a possible recovery remains unknown. One thing is certain, due to the economic situation, there is increased competitiveness in the job market. Intellect, networking, and persistence are crucial to thrive in this market. Just a degree confirming an advanced education will no longer suffice. In 2008, as the shocks of the recession hit, top business schools saw major banks, such as JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers, and Deutsche Bank cancel recruitment sessions and remove themselves from the universities' career services' web sites. Today, with signs of recovery, recruitment has also improved. Its effects, however, cannot be ignored in the selective process. It is critical to stand out among the millions in the search. Human resources' departments are inundated daily with resumes from students across the world and across the spectrum of academic performance. (Leland, 2008)

Our objective is to investigate what college students, particularly finance students, are doing to secure themselves a job given the current state of the economy. A secondary objective is to investigate the extent to which students utilize internships and social networking sites to connect with employers. The findings reported here are useful to both career management centers across the country and employers, since it indicates that the job market for college graduates may be cyclical. For example, a finding that college graduates are preparing themselves more for the job market as a result of a recession (or crisis) may indicate that the tail end of a recession is the best time to hire college graduates. To career management centers, it would indicate that demand for their services would increase at that time.

To investigate what more advanced finance students are doing versus 'average' business students to improve their chances of securing a quality finance-related job, we seek answers to the fourteen questions listed in the Appendix. During the analysis, we divide the questions into three groups. Question 1 through 4 address general job-related questions. Questions 5 through 9 address previous work experience and internship efforts; lastly, questions 10 through 14 assess students' networking activities, including their involvement in student organizations. …

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