Tiffany Carter believes she picked a safe career path. The CCBC Essex student is studying to be a nurse.
The trouble, Carter believes, won’t be keeping a job but just trying to land one out of college.
“I know nursing is a great field, but everything I’m hearing is that it’s harder and harder to get your foot in the door as a new grad,” said Carter, 19, of Essex.
Whether job-seekers are recent college graduates, experienced professionals or people exploring new career options, finding work in America continues to be difficult.
The unemployment level held steady at 9.1 percent as the U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs in September, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growth exceeded expectations from economists but 45,000 of those jobs can be attributed to Verizon workers who went back to work following a strike over the summer.
Carter hoped to get a step ahead of the competition Friday as she was one of nearly 300 people to attend a job fair on the CCBC Essex campus. Verizon, Franklin Square Hospital Center and Apple were just a few of the 24 employers to attend the fair.
“We got a lot of people interested in coming to work for us,” said Tami Pusateri, community partners coordinator with Priority Partners. “I had so many people come up to me and tell me just how competitive it is just to get in somewhere.”
Priority Partners is a managed care organization that provides low- and no-cost health care services to qualifying families, adults and children in Maryland and is part of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Pusateri said she told potential employees that they have to do what they can to stand out in a crowded applicant pool.
“I had two retirees and two career switchers come up and ask about our openings,” Pusteri said. “It’s an intense market right now.”
Denise Savarese, a career services specialist with CCBC, said she is amazed at how many students go through college and have no work experience to put on their resume. That is just unacceptable in today’s climate, she said.
Savarese added that when she first started hosting job fairs at CCBC more than a decade ago, the college would attract more than 100 employers and would have to host it in the gymnasium. Friday’s event was held on the second floor of the student center.
“There are fewer and fewer people hiring,” Savarese said. “Those that are offering jobs, many times are just for $9 or $10 an hour. That just doesn’t work for someone with a family and a mortgage. People today have to stand out if they want a job.”
Chance Moody is one student who understands what Savarese is talking about. The 19-year-old CCBC Essex student is studying animation and went through a similar program while at Patapsco High School. He also spent time speaking with employers at Friday’s job fair.
“I’m just hoping to get my foot in the door somewhere,” he said.