Grad school versus employment

April 15, 2010 by Nikki Shook NMSU Round Up

As graduation draws nearer, many graduates find themselves torn on what to do

The spring 2010 semester is coming to an end and the one thing occupying the minds of most seniors is graduation: The day when caps fly into the air and grade point averages are forgotten.

But what happens after that? Some students will apply for entry-level jobs in the real world while others will choose to seek masters degree.

Some recent graduates of New Mexico State University have experienced trouble finding employment. With the recent economic crisis, the current job market is limited. According to an April 2, 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics press release, the unemployment rate for March 2010 was 9.7 percent. A household data survey, conducted by the bureau, shows that 15 million people are currently unemployed.

Kevin Coyle, a 2003 NMSU graduate of theater arts, said in the field of acting there has been a lack of employment opportunities, even in cities such as New York.

“I have seen a decline in auditions over the past few years,” Coyle said. “This, of course, is directly connected to the economy. Consumers spend less, so brands are less inclined to produce new spots for their products.”

Jennifer Sousa, a 2007 graduate of the English department, said she is finding there are no immediate opportunities in her field of study.

“It seems like there aren’t any jobs for people with a B.A. in English,” Sousa said. “It is a prerequisite for a lot of other things, but it really doesn’t get you anywhere.”

Although every field of study varies in terms of job market openings, Career Services, located in Garcia Annex, is available to help those who are seeking employment as opposed to graduate school.

Roseanne Bensley, associate director of Career Services at NMSU, said students and alumni alike have the opportunity to find employment through this free campus service.

“Here at Career Services, we provide freshmen through alumni all the tools necessary to enter the workforce,” Bensley said.

Bensley said the foundation of Career Services is to provide a linkage between students and the professional job market, including internships.

“Even long after students complete their degree, we can help,” Bensley said. “Also, I do recommend utilizing LinkedIn.”

LinkedIn is an online social networking Web site that provides a means for people to connect with others they know, but also to gain connections while seeking employment. According to, people can re-connect, power their career and get answers to any questions they may have.

Amanda Husson, a 2003 alumna and current reporter and copy editor for the Las Cruces Sun-News, said the job market in journalism has changed since she graduated.

“I was able to find a journalism job within a couple months of graduating, but the job market was very different at that time,” Husson said. “It’s really tough to find a job right now, especially competing with hundreds of journalists being laid off who have places like the LA Times or Washington Post on their resumes.”

A recent graduate, Michelle Moseley-Pace, class of ’08, said she is attending graduate school to increase her chances in the job market.

“I did work for five years [after obtaining] my bachelor’s degree at ACU and decided to go back and get my master’s degree, at NMSU, so that I could open more doors for myself,” Moseley-Pace said.

Alumna Aimee Cashion said her experience so far with finding a job has been pretty disappointing.

“I am getting my master’s in social work and usually there are plenty of opportunities,” Cashion said. “Unfortunately, due to the recession and budget cuts in human services and mental health services, there are hardly any openings in this town.”

Bensley said Career Services can assist students in finding a job anywhere, even locally. However, she recommends that students delay obtaining their master’s degree to gain job experience first.

“Down the road a master’s is beneficial,” Bensley said. “However, it is not wise right after college because people need to see the deeper whole and know how work and school play together.”

Moseley-Pace agreed. “I liked having real life work experience under my belt — it made for a richer school experience when I did go back for my master’s,” Moseley-Pace said. “I have found that finding a job with a master’s degree has been much easier than it was to find a job with only a bachelor’s degree.”

Although several students and alumni have struggled to find employment on their own, Career Services provides help with finding a job by utilizing AggieTrak, resume builders and preliminary interview sessions as either practice for getting a job or with employers who are seeking educated professionals for their companies.

As of April 2, 2010, AggieTrak shows 454 job openings, which were posted by Career Services, and 11,627 featured by MonsterCollege.

Bensley said employers are ultimately looking for people with a personal desire for the job at hand. She said there are three parts of a resume that are the most important to employers: the objectives section, skills and qualifications and the specific skills and tasks which are listed with bullets under previous experience.

“Write each bullet for the objective, not the job title,” Bensley said. “These three elements must work in harmony with one another.”

For students interested in graduate school, New Mexico State University offers 51 graduate degree programs through the colleges of engineering, business administration and economics, education, College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, health and social services and arts and sciences.

Contact 646-5746 for more information about graduate school at NMSU.

For more information about Career Services, visit

Nikki Shook is the online editor and can be contacted at

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