Make us your home page
Jobs | Starting out

Graduating into a tight job market

TAMPA — Dixie Mazutier came to the Martinez Sports Center at the University of Tampa dressed in her interview best, armed with resumes and ready to impress.

But the 21-year-old finance major, who graduates in December, worried as she traveled the aisles of the school's fall job fair that she would not find full-time employment in her field.

"I'm finding sales positions here. Not very much finance," Mazutier said. "I've been looking for over five months for jobs. . . . The economic situation makes it very hard to find one."

The numbers don't encourage much.

The University of Tampa has seen its online job postings decrease by 45 percent in a year. St. Petersburg College has just 67 active job ads, compared with a more normal 300. USF-Tampa recently had 175 employers at its job fair, down 40 from two years ago.

"There's no question that the economy is very different currently compared to even six or eight months ago," said Drema Howard, director of USF-Tampa's career center. "Our students are constantly bombarded that it's difficult. . . . At the same time, there are still jobs."

Graduates will have to change their expectations when seeking them, though.

Rather than competing solely with other college students, they increasingly find competition from career changers, laid-off workers and others with more experience.

"A lot of these people think they're going to start where their parents are now," said Tim Harding, UT career services director.

But more realistically, "that whole concept of the dream job with a lifetime career is history," said Peter Lewis, a project manager for Faircount Media Group, which was recruiting at the UT job fair.

Companies like Faircount are looking to hire "good young people" who are willing to start at the bottom, Lewis said. At the very least, the graduates can earn some money and gain some experience while waiting for the market to strengthen, he noted.

Getting even these jobs takes more than sending in a resume and waiting, said James Gonyea, St. Petersburg College career development specialist.

Job seekers must identify their strengths and talents, then research companies to find the best fits, Gonyea said.

"Ask the question, 'Who needs it and why do they need it?' " he said. "That should be the focus of their cover letter to the right type of employer."

Send it certified mail, he added, to capture the employer's attention.

In addition to branding, networking remains key, as many jobs never get advertised, Harding said.

Even with extra touches, job seekers should get used to hearing "no," Howard suggested. Remaining positive is critical, she said, as "we're going to see more time spent in job search than ever before."

Still, she said, new college graduates probably have a leg up because they have the latest training and job fairs organized just for them, among other benefits. They also don't cost as much as a more experienced worker.

Eric Bonneau, who graduated from the University of Tampa in May, hopes so.

Bonneau, 23, has a degree in sports management with a minor in business management, and he wants to work "anywhere possible." Yet as he traversed the school's job fair, he wasn't excited about the prospects.

"There's a lot of entry-level positions that really don't pay much, but you can work your way up," he said. "I have money in the bank. But if I didn't, with the economy the way it is, I'd be worried."

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at or (813) 909-4614.

By the numbers

2-3 Average number of years employees hold their first job

19 percentage increase in alumni seeking career assistance at USF-Tampa

45 percentage decrease in online job ads, year-to-year, at the University of Tampa


Harsh reality: Joblessness is higher among 20- to 24-year olds than in the overall population. 2F

Before enrolling: Things to consider when deciding whether to go back to school. 3F

Graduating into a tight job market 10/12/08 [Last modified: Sunday, October 12, 2008 9:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Study: Tampa Bay a top market for homebuyers on the move

    Real Estate

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, a survey found.
[Associated Press file photo]
  2. Ousted to political Siberia by Corcoran, Kathleen Peters sets sights on Pinellas Commission

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The perks of power in Tallahassee are a coveted chairmanship, a Capitol office in a prime location and a prominent seat on the House floor. Now Rep. Kathleen Peters has lost all three, but here's the twist: Her trip to "Siberia" might actually help her reach the next step on the Tampa Bay political …

    Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena, has been relegated to the back row in the State House chamber, moved to a fouth floor office and stripped of her job as chairwoman of a House subcommittee after a series of disagreements with House Speaker Richard Corcoran. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA


    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  4. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants the Constitu?tion Revision Commis?sion to ask voters to repeal the state’s system of partial financing of statewide elections.
  5. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — When Miami developer Jorge Perez first eyed a 4.2-acre tract on the west bank of the Hillsborough River two years ago, people asked him if he wouldn't prefer to build on the opposite side closer to the downtown core.

    No way.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]