With the end of the quarter quickly approaching, many graduating students at Western Washington University have the looming job market at the front of their minds. After years of refining your knowledge and expertise in the specific major that you chose, it can be stressful to wonder if what you studied all those years will be the field that you work in.
No major is excluded from this question — from geology to communications studies, all have their own fears of entering the job market.
So, what does the job market actually look like for the soon-to-be graduates?
“Employers tell us for the class of 2023, they are planning on hiring 3.9% more graduates from the class of ‘23 than they did from the class of ‘22,” said Mary Gatta, research director at the National Organization of College and Employers.
Gatta also talked about what industries are looking for the most employees to hire.
“We see the greatest percent increase in hiring in the transportation industry, and chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, engineering services, computer and electronics manufacturing and then also finance insurance and real estate,” said Gatta.
When it comes to looking for a job in the field of their studied major, students with majors like communications have a multitude of options for work. While this may seem like a very positive thing, it can have its downfalls when looking for a job. Taylor Proden, a fourth-year at Western, is graduating after studying communications and will soon be entering the job market with the question of where to apply.
“I'm with most of the people that I've met inside the major, I think a lot of them feel like, the biggest issue is trying to find out which kind of communications aspect [they] want to go into,” said Proden.
Proden has plans to possibly turn her current internship into a full-time job and said she used a lot of advice to help put her on this path.
“I use my advisor quite a bit. I have an internship advisor, and she's the one who helped me get started with my internship that I have right now,” said Proden. “She's probably going to be the person that I talk to about getting a job afterward also.”
Western has a lot of services to help upcoming graduates prepare to enter the job market with their best foot forward. One of those services is the Career Center.
Effie Eisses, the Career Center director, mentioned multiple career fairs and employment outreach opportunities provided by Western.
"It is really important to supplement your education with some experiences, like an experiential learning project, something that can help build your resume so that when you get to graduation, you have some practical experience that can supplement your education. These experiences can also be gained through activities like clubs on campus, internships, projects, volunteer work,” Eisses said.
Along with the fairs they plan, the Career Center has a new site coming out soon called Parker Dewey.
“Parker Dewey is a site that pays students for projects that they get from employers for what's called micro projects or micro internships. Projects are generally short term like a 10 hour project. The anticipated hours that the project will take are listed as well as the pay for the project.” Eisses said.
Internships and things like micro-projects can be some of the best opportunities to try out certain field jobs, although they are not necessary to guarantee success.
I find the idea of a 10-week internship to be very stressful and overwhelming from the perspective of a full-time student; however, to have access to micro-projects would help me enter the world of internships without feeling the pressure of the weeks-long commitment.
As Western students, if you are looking to get prepped and ready to enter the job market with your best foot forward, don’t overlook the services that our university has in place to help.
Avery Rossman (she/her) is an opinions reporter for The Front. When she’s not writing, you can find her in the gym or cracking jokes and laughing with her friends!