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Job Market Looks Brighter for Class of 2012

By Tony Azios

AU students Beth Raymond (left) and Casey Stansley (right) both secured full-time employment for after graduation.

AU students Beth Raymond (left) and Casey Stansley (right) both secured full-time employment for after graduation.

Amid reports of significantly improved employment prospects for this year’s college graduates, American University (AU) students are already seeing the benefits of a recovering economy.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers expect to hire 10.2 percent more graduates from the Class of 2012 than they did from the Class of 2011. This marks the second consecutive year in which employers have adjusted their hiring expectations upward, with 2012 hiring projections even higher than initial reports suggested.

“This upward movement,” says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director, “along with other positive economic indicators, show that the job market for new college graduates is improving steadily.”

Beth Raymond, KSB/SIS ‘12, is one of several AU students reaping the benefits of this welcome shift. She received a job offer from her current internship employer as well as from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). While both positions were very attractive, she opted for the FBI because “no matter where I take my career, this will be an excellent starting point” that offers “varied opportunities for growth.” Plus, she adds, “It’ll be pretty cool to work for the FBI.”

But while the job market is looking rosier, full-time employment is not necessarily easy to come by.

Sean Chua, SPA/BA ‘12, began his arduous job search well over a year ago.

“At first the market looked very barren,” he says. “I was checking job boards weekly, but there were not a lot of entry-level positions listed.”

Chua’s early start and persistence paid off. He recently accepted a position as a public sector consultant with IBM’s Enterprise Applications Team. Chua credits much of his success to the resources available to him through the Career Center. In fact, he found the IBM position through AU CareerWeb and met with career advisor Jennifer Carignan to prepare for his interview.

Raymond, who connected with FBI recruiters through AU's on-campus recruiting program, also praises the Career Center.

“It has been a huge part of my entire career planning process since freshman year,” says Raymond. She says that career advisor David Fletcher has played an invaluable role during her time at AU.

A little help from the Career Center also went a long way in connecting Casey Stansley, CAS/SIS/BA ‘12, with the resources needed to nab a highly sought after job with Citigroup's Global Transaction Services division. Like Raymond, she secured a full-time position through the Career Center and Kogod Center for Career Development's joint on-campus recruiting program, through which AU alumni now working at Citigroup hosted information sessions and offered helpful resume and interview advice.

“The recruiting program definitely gave me an advantage over just blindly applying,” says Stansley.

A previous internship with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration also helped Stansley stand out from other applicants because Citigroup sought candidates with experience in the public sector and global banking. This connection between her internship experience and full-time job offer is consistent with her advice for AU underclassmen: “Make job searching a priority very early on in your college career. Start considering your goals and strategies to achieve them from day one.”

Graduating seniors who are just now beginning their job search can still improve their odds of securing full-time employment by leveraging their internships and relevant coursework, tapping into their networks, and utilizing the myriad resources provided by the Career Center and Kogod Center for Career Development.

As Chua says, “With hiring prospects improving, it’s more important than ever to get your name and resume out into the market now, during the upswing.”