IOWA CITY, Iowa – Now is the time for the nail biting and the worrying to set in. College students are questioning if they've done what it takes to get a job after graduation.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers released a spring job outlook for college students. Employers suveyed said they're planning to hire 2.1 percent more grads than last year's class. It might sound good, but that's a lot lower than the 13 percent increase originally forecasted at the beginning of the school year.
A new report out by IowaWatch.org, the non-profit news organization of The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, showed college graduates need work experience especially with news the job market has tightened.
Sunday was a pretty quiet day on the University of Iowa campus. Students studied on the lawn and enjoyed the sunny day, but seniors know soon enough reality will hit.
"I graduate May 18," said Annie Costabile.
Seniors Chris Piplani and Annie Costabile are on the hunt for a new job. Annie is searching within the journalism field and Chris in economics. It's proving to be a difficult task.
"I've been doing it every day, I have my career search right there and I've submitted 223 applications," Piplani said.
Workers at the University's Pomerantz Career Center say internships and professional experience are vital. Research shows grads with paid internships are faring better with employers than those without.
"It's crucial. If they have two candidates that they are looking at, they are at the top of the pile and they have one student who has two internships and one that doesn't have any internships, you can guess which way the decision is going on that," Angi McKie said.
Annie knows she's taken all the right steps, and believes her five internships will help her land her first job after graduation day.
"Once you are done here people are going to want to know what you did outside of school," Costabile said.
Students estimated that 50 to 75 percent of their classmates do not have job plans yet, but McKie said, on average, 90 percent get jobs or go on to enroll in grad school within about six months of graduation.