Soon-to-be college grads anxious about jobs; career counsels says outlook is improving

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The unemployment rate, which remains above eight percent, has many college students readying to enter the job market worried.

But one career counselor said Friday that the outlook is starting to look much better.

Ali Eltom, a VCU senior who will be graduating in less than two months, is still looking for work.

“It’s already weighing pretty heavy on me right now,” said Eltom. “I ask my parents, I ask my parent’s friends, I ask my friends’ parents… I ask my friends’ parents’ friends. Not even if they have a job, but just if they’re offering.”

Eltom will be holding a degree in biology, but he said the piece of paper will not help pay his bills.

“You don’t even know where to look, because you’re so desperate you’re looking for anything,” said Eltom.

But despite the troubles, Eltom is keeping a positive attitude. He said he’s made it this far and will stay optimistic, even though he admits he’s a bit scared.

However, VCU Career Center Director Sue Story said job prospects for graduating seniors are improving.

One big indicator of a turnaround is the university’s job board, which has been bare over the last few years.

“We’ve posted more jobs this year than last year,” said Story. “If you’re in technology you’re home free. There are a lot of jobs for technology majors. And a lot of jobs is sales and marketing.”

Another indicator: the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent last month, which is the lowest rate in three years.

“We feel so much better because the students are happier. The employers are happy. Everyone is happy,” said Story. She added that parents are quite happy about the good news, too.

Eltom is slightly buoyed by improving unemployment numbers, but the the 21-year-old would like to nail down his first job before graduation.

“I’m waiting for someone to tell me that they’re on their way up and not things are starting to plateau,” said Eltom. “To have some hope. That in the end it will work out. You can’t give up at all.”

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