Alternative careers reflect changing times
In such a competitive job market, Career Center Director Roger Woolsey encourages students to explore careers in a variety of different fields.
Students "can't be limited by one industry," Woolsey says. "There are jobs out there that seem like they would be for math or science majors...but liberal arts students need to be aware that they can do anything in a variety of fields."
The College's Career Center "is constantly researching the job market," Woolsey says. It is trying to predict what it will look like in the next three to five years in order to best advise students in their career search.
From this research, Woolsey notes that "green" jobs that encourage eco-friendly activities are "becoming more and more abundant."
This is excellent news for students studying at liberal arts colleges. The expanding green job market is creating new careers in many fields, such as sustainable agriculture and environmental engineering.
Non-government organizations (NGOs), which are increasingly referred to as private volunteer organizations (PVOs), are also growing in number. These organizations are appealing to many students as they offer both domestic and international humanitarian work with a variety of foci throughout the world. Furthermore, the market for new media is rapidly expanding, Woolsey says, as technology continues to change the way societies manage and distribute content. For instance, many companies are currently looking to hire social networking professionals, whose job will be to advertise and communicate information across popular networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Woolsey also points out that a number of "traditional jobs" are making a comeback as well, because new positions will soon become available within the insurance industry and the field of education as members of the baby boomer generation begin to retire.
In short, these new job markets and newly revived old job markets offer a lot of exciting opportunities for soon-to-be graduates despite the recent economic downturn, but not all students are aware of these opportunities.
"During the beginning of the recession we weren't seeing many students come to the Career Center," Woolsey says, but a recent increase in the number of students coming in for career guidance has been reported.
Woolsey's main advice to students, in addition to utilizing the Career Center, is "to do research," he says. The Career Center has a number of online job search engines for students and offers Colby Connect, a four-year program that all students can participate in that, according to its website, "inspires success through a sequence of practical workshops, information sessions and related programming."
Perhaps most importantly, however, the Career Center "opens up doors to alumni and parents that can act as mentors to students," creates opportunities for job shadowing and internships, and helps students "to be successful in any career you need to do internships," Woolsey says.
To put it simply, "I would just tell students to come in and speak with a counselor [at the Career Center] if they are uncertain about their future." Or even if they are certain about their futures, because there may be alternative career opportunities available to them that they didn't even know about, he adds.
The most important thing, Woolsey says, is that students acknowledge the "breadth of knowledge" that a Colby education has provided them, and that they learn how to "use it creatively in a number of different careers."