Published: April 26, 2011

Hard-driving Spartans tackle tough job market

Contact(s): Andy Henion Media Communications office: (517) 355-3294 cell: (517) 281-6949

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Faced with one of the worst job markets in years, many of today’s college students have come to realize that their careers essentially begin the moment they step on campus.

“There’s this attitude that has persisted for decades that, ‘I’m going to college, I’m paying all this money, so when I get out I’m going to have a job,’ but that’s not necessarily the way it is anymore,” said Dylan Rogers, a recent Michigan State University graduate. “It’s not enough to simply get your degree; you have to do more these days.”

Rogers, who landed a job as a family support worker at Community Mental Health in Lansing, is part of a new wave of young people who understand the need to begin paving their career paths as early as possible. Rogers went through a difficult job search last year; a new crop of MSU graduates will hit the labor market after graduating May 6.

After bottoming out a couple years ago, the national job market for college graduates has rebounded slightly but remains relatively anemic – making competition for jobs fierce, according to MSU’s annual Recruiting Trends report.

So how does a college student get a leg up? Here are four important tips to help secure one’s future, told through the eyes of hard-driving Spartans. (Click on the links to read more. To see a video on the students, click here.)

Volunteer in your community

For Rogers, volunteering had been part of his precollege life – including building houses for the poor and helping hurricane victims – and he continued on this path when he came to East Lansing.

Roll up your sleeves

How’s this for hard work: 20-year-old Audrye Tucker maintains four paying jobs, films her own documentaries and, come May, will still manage to graduate in four years with two bachelor’s degrees and a specialization.

Get experience in your field

As a biochemistry and molecular biology major at MSU, Dennis Miner managed to get four years of undergraduate scientific research experience on campus. This helped him obtain a one-year paid internship at Pfizer Global Manufacturing – a great career stepping-stone.

Be tenacious in your job search

Even when his prospects looked dim, business student Sarada Weerasinghe failed to give up his quest to find an all-important internship. Eventually his determination paid off: Weerasinghe landed not only an internship, but also a full-time position at a major accounting firm.


Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

Click to enlarge

MSU grad Dylan Rogers, second from right, volunteers at the Reach Studio Art Center in Lansing. Photo by G.L. Kohuth

MSU grad Dylan Rogers, second from right, volunteers at the Reach Studio Art Center in Lansing. Photo by G.L. Kohuth

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