Pomona College Magazine
Volume 45, No. 3
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Pomona College Magazine is published three times a year by Pomona College
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Online Editor: Laura Tiffany

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Editor: Mark Wood
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Transitions / Finding a Job
Thriving in a Dire Job Market

By Laura Tiffany

Back in March, the National Association of Colleges and Employers released a startling statistic: Employers surveyed indicated they would be hiring 22 percent fewer 2009 graduates than they did last year. The financial industry has imploded, the housing market crashed, and the only thing rising is the unemployment rate.

It is these dire circumstances that Pomona’s seniors faced as they neared graduation, starting their lives and careers in the toughest job market in recent memory. Yet, they’re doing just fine.

“We have seen no change in success with employment or graduate/professional school plans for our students,” says Carl Martellino, director of the Career Development Center. “There is no doubt that it’s much harder to find employment, but our students seem to have taken all of the news media in stride and marched forward to follow their goals.” While students are finding jobs, they may not be receiving as many offers as seniors did in the past, and signing bonuses are minimal or nonexistent.

Aaron Hosansky, an international relations major from Pennsylvania, applied at about 20 companies, landed three interviews and two second-round interviews. He took his first offer with medical software manufacturer Epic Systems in Madison, Wis. “With the economy the way it was, I didn’t want to hold out too long for a better offer,” says Hosansky, who found his future position interesting and the salary satisfactory.

Other students found their foot in the door via internships. Sonia Sohali, a mathematical economics major, landed an analyst position with Analysis Group after a summer internship. After two summer internships in New York City, Citigroup offered Levon Balayan an investment banking analyst position in its London office, which Balayan says would have been “virtually impossible” to get without the internships, especially given his status as a foreign national.

While 82 percent of Pomona seniors have done internships, and more than 50 percent have completed multiple internships, they’re just one tool in seniors’ job-hunting arsenal. According to a survey of Pomona seniors conducted in May, seniors find the CDO’s drop-in advising services, Route 47 online job site, library and Web site all crucial tools. For seniors who already have jobs, the most popular method for finding employment was employer recruiting on campus.

As part of the Claremont Colleges joint recruiting program, about 350 employers come to campus each year. This year, that number was down to about 250, but Martellino says that most of the “regulars” returned.

The CDO helps alumni with job searches as well. Some seniors look for a job after summer or take a gap year, spent traveling, interning, volunteering or doing research. Taking time off is an increasingly common choice given the strenuous academic requirements of students’ senior years.

Alumni from years past have also become victims of the recession. Martellino says the CDO has seen more alumni seeking help, especially those who graduated in the past five years, and that many of those alums are willing to dial down their career dreams for positions that may provide opportunities and connections when the economy improves.

“Keep your head up,” says Elspeth Hilton ’08, who worked for a social networking startup that laid off all of its staff and is now working as a receptionist until she enters grad school next year. “The job market is tough right now, and you can’t take it personally if you have trouble getting a job or you’ll run out of steam.”

By the Numbers
According to the CDO's annual senior survey, seniors who already have jobs found them by the following methods:

24% On-Campus Recruiting
18% Networking/Referrals
15% Other Online Job Listing
13% Route 47 Job Listing
10% Previous Internship
20% Other

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by Pomona College
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