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Job Search Tough for Recent College Graduates

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Jenny Nowatzke

Omaha (KPTM) - For hundreds of Nebraska's December college graduates, this Christmas will either be very merry, or a bit in the dumps.

The deciding factor - whether or not they have a job locked down before they are handed their diploma.

Come next Saturday, 298 students will graduate from Creighton University.  Many were lucky enough to lock down jobs as early as October, but dozens are still searching, and beginning to wonder if their impending college degree will actually end up hurting their cause.

"This kind of job market - it's a softer one that it was a year ago."

Jim Bretl has seen his share of job markets.  He's been working in college career centers for 28 years, and is currently trying to find dozens of jobs for December graduates.

"Certainly it's out there that it's tougher to find a job. So, there's more urgency - students are realizing they have to start earlier," said Bretl.

It's a lesson that's helped many soon-to-be graduates - like Drew Mandl - who locked down a job back in October.

"It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Just hearing about the job market," said Mandl.

But that weight is still on the shoulders of many students, like Chris Douglas.

"A lot of the places I've interviewed, they're saying, 'we're not hiring now, come back later, it's bad timing with the economy and what not,'" Douglas said.

But, even after he receives his diploma, experts say Chris' job search won't get any easier.

"The better educated you are, the longer is takes to find a job, and you need to be more flexible in the geographical area you are looking in," said Creighton economics professor, Ernie Goss.

That being said, there are things graduates can do to make sure their degree pays off in the end.

"A student who's done some serious internships regardless of what their major is, is going to have a leg up - that's becoming the meal ticket to getting better jobs," said Bretl.

"You have to be flexible and be mobile and go where the job is," said Goss.

"Definitely get an internship. Start early, don't wait until the last minute.... like me!" said Douglas.

Experts say, the job market for May graduates is expected to be even worse, and recommend those students start looking for jobs right now.

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