Job Hunting Adding To Millennial Stress

Students waiting to speak to a representative from the Cleveland Browns at the SLAM Exploration & Networking Expo.

By Emily O’Connor

Miami Journalism Student

Across college campuses in the fall, students dress in their business best with resumes and portfolios in hand. As they walk from class to class, they are also preparing for an upcoming interview later in the day. Their interviews could be for an internship or a job to begin their careers.

In 2008, a mental health study done by the Associated Press and mtvU showed that eight out of ten college students say they have stress in their daily lives. This is a 20 percent increase from a study done in 2003 and the numbers only continue to rise. This study also found that 57 percent feared they wouldn’t find a job after they graduate.

“Starting my senior year is stressful and emotional enough,” Miami University Senior Emily Shindler says. “But nothing is more stressful than seeing your classmates come to school with a full time offer already. There is a lot of pressure to get a job as quick as possible.”

To cope with this stress, Shindler filled out as many job applications as possible. To her surprise, she ended up receiving several job offers within less than two months of Miami’s career fair in September. Just before Thanksgiving of her senior year, she accepted a position with JP Morgan & Chase in Chicago as a Technology Analyst.

Seniors are not the only ones feeling the pressure of the job market, juniors are also feeling the heat. Junior Megan O’Connell says she has applied to 12 different internships thus far and has only received an offer from two.

“It’s stressful and I am binge eating a lot of ice cream,” says O’Connell. “On a scale of one to ten, I would say my stress is a seven because I’m not a senior yet so I don’t have to find something.”

Similar to many other universities, Miami University hosts a fall career fair, spring internship and career fair and an architecture and design fair. Miami University holds one large career expo, also known as a centralized career service, to maximize the opportunities for students.

“We are a centralized career services function,” says Heather Christman, Senior Associate Director of Career Services. “In order to create as many opportunities as possible for all majors and because of our size, our career fairs help employers see a bigger pool of talent and also lets out students to have access to more employers.”

In a random on-the-street survey conducted for this story, six out of ten Miami University students felt that the fall career fair was specific for the Farmer School of Business and no other college. When Christman was asked about this issue, she explained that when students see the word ‘business’ or ‘corporate’ they assume that a writing or marketing major may not be of interest to that company. However, she said this is often false and that all students should attend the fair to explore their options.

Christman suggests this impression comes from the fact the fall fair features a lot of corporations, however, corporate entities usually have a better idea of what their future openings will be for the following years. According to Christman, bigger businesses can better predict their budget and openings whereas non-profits cannot so they do not attend career fairs.

Source: EPI analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey public data series

Miami students are not alone in their struggle to find employment. According Generation Opportunity, a nonprofit that advocates for millennials, in May 13.8 percent of 18 to 29 year olds were out of work. This number, although improving, is still above the national jobless rate of 5.4 percent.

This situation can compound the stress college students feel as they approach graduation, although there are ways of lessening the stress.

“It’s never too early to start,” says Shindler. “Your friends, classmates, parents and professors will all have their opinions on your career, the only opinion that matters are yours!”

Many colleges offer a career services department to help students get on their feet while looking for jobs.

For example, Miami University offers mock interviews, resume reviews, and one-on-one advising appointments. Each of these services can be requested online through the career services website. Christman says, from her experience, that these types of services are common at most college campuses.

Some clubs and organizations on campus also work hard to provide their members with opportunities to network and meet professionals in their field of interest.

Students waiting to network at the SLAM Exploration and Networking Expo.

During the Sport Leadership & Management (SLAM) Exploration and Networking expo in October, many students lined up thirty minutes before the doors opened with their suits pressed and resumes in hand. As the doors opened, they rushed in and stood in line waiting to talk to potential recruiters.

One student said she had not really prepared for the expo because she had attended the career fair a few weeks prior. Another student said that this was more of a networking opportunity that could potentially lead to job searches. It was organized by the SLAM Club and Career Services.

Senior Helen Moore attended the networking opportunity, but admitted that she did not prepare as well as she could have.

Helen Moore (far right) networking at the SLAM expo.

“I just printed off a resume and that’s about it,” says the marketing and SLAM major. “I saw the email advertising this a few days ago and decided to go. I did a lot of preparing for the career fair last month, but that was more serious.”

Alexandra Conant, another Miami senior, believes that many students do not take advantage of the opportunities Miami offers.

“I’ve attended workshops for my LinkedIn profile, my resume, and I’ve done mock interviews,” says Conant. “Career services departments all in any college have so many opportunities, students just have to take the initiative to look for them.”

In a survey done by Business Blog Inc, 48 to 64 percent of people found their jobs by networking. This study, completed in 2013, had more than 1,800 participants.

Christman urges the use of alumni networks on college campuses as well.

“It is an extraordinary valuable tool that students underuse in terms of figuring out how to get a foot in the door at places,” says Christman. “We [Miami] have wonderful alumni who are willing to network with students and just get to know them and help them figure out how to navigate things!”

The pressure of finding jobs can come from many different sides. O’Connell believes that college students want to be successful after they graduate.

“We spend so much time and money these four, or more, years,” says O’Connell. “We just want to prove that it was all worth it and we did it. We just want a job.”

The Spring Internship & Career Expo (Spring ICE) is the next networking opportunity for Miami University students. It takes place February 1st in Millet Hall.