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KNOXVILLE — Despite the sagging economy, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, graduates — especially those who started their job hunts early — are having success landing jobs.

For those who are still looking, Career Services still can offer assistance.

“We had a great recruiting year,” said Russ Coughenour, director of Career Services. “In particular, the year was good for engineering students, accounting students, logistics students and students who are interested in entry-level management trainee programs and sales programs.”

Gene Crabtree, recruiter for 21st Mortgage, said, “I generally think the job market is strong for May graduates. Judging from all the employers at the 12 campus job fairs I attended this semester, I think the demand is great for qualified applicants. Even if companies are not expanding, most have ‘boomers’ about to retire and are looking to find able replacements.”

Students may not be so fortunate if they have just now started their job hunt.

“The student who is struggling to find employment is probably a student who started late in the academic year to find employment,” Coughenour said. “Career Services’ advice is that you start your job search the September before you graduate in May.

“Many students don’t think about it until March of their senior year, and they’ve already missed 70 percent of their opportunities at this point,” he said.

Students also may be struggling if they didn’t have internships or didn’t try to get some related job experience during college, Coughenour said.

“There is definitely a significantly higher likelihood of landing a job at graduation if you have an internship or co-op. The first thing employers look for is a degree, then they’ll look for a high GPA, and then they’ll look for related experience.”

He also said many graduating seniors don’t realize help from Career Services is still available to them.

“Our doors are always open,” he said.

Career Services works with alumni by giving them access to its HIRE-A-VOL system that houses all its job opportunities. It also helps graduates with resumes, setting up interviews and negotiations with prospective employers.

Career Services is located at 100 Dunford Hall and can be reached by calling 974-5435.


Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu