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
15% Other Online Job Listing
13% Route 47 Job Listing
10% Previous Internship