HATTIESBURG (WDAM) - The song and dance of college life is over, and now the real life dance begins, finding a job while staying in step with a degree. But in today's job market dance floor, the steps are much harder.
"It does take persistence in this job market to find something, " said Vice President of Student Services at William Carey University Brenda Waldrip, who sees the challenges graduates face - proving themselves valuable, while competing with experienced people who are out of work and doing it with less jobs available."
"The job contacts we have had coming in saying they need people to work much of that has really diminished," said Waldrip.
It is a similar story at USM, where director of career services Rusty Anderson said employer career fair numbers are down by almost half compared to last year.
"Student enrollment continues to climb, and we're still producing graduates that need good jobs so that creates a situation that compresses the job market," said Anderson. "Employers can pretty much pick and choose who they want because they've got the upper hand right now."
"Our businesses that we work with everyday, they're leaner, they are getting by with fewer people," said Hattiesburg WIN job center branch manager Ron Adams. Two years ago, the center would see about 50 people a day, now the number has doubled.
"The job market has gotten more refined and more focused and it makes it tougher to find jobs if you're not really specifically trained," said Adams.
Even with an upper hand, Anderson and Waldrip said there are still jobs to be found, and how you hunt will determine success.
"In this market, you've got to make the employer feel like you have something of value," said Anderson.
"The job market for the last couple of years has just really dried up to a large extent, but you continue to have graduates, they still have expectations."