University Park, Pa. -- College students and recent graduates preparing to enter the most challenging job market in decades, take heart. A new Big Ten Network series produced by Penn State called "It's Your Time: Find Your Future" is bringing you information, resources and guidance.
The half-hour pilot episode, hosted by Marie Hardin, is scheduled to debut at 7 p.m. Eastern time Sunday, July 11. The show will feature interviews with recent graduates, discussions about what students can do in college to aid their career search as well as tips from guest panelists with expertise in career counseling.
Hardin, a former newspaper reporter and editor, is acting associate dean for administration, associate director for research in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism and associate professor in Penn State's College of Communications. She is joined on the show by three Penn State experts:
• Jack Rayman, senior director of Career Services at the Bank of America Career Services Center and affiliate professor of counseling psychology and education;
• Bob Martin, assistant dean for internships and placement in the College of Communications; and
• Robin Stevens, director of career and corporate services in the Smeal College of Business.
Experts examine the state of the current job market, identify majors with the best prospects for employment growth in the near future and offer suggestions -- some out of the ordinary -- for students and grads to gain ground in their career paths. They also review recommended steps for students to take during each year of college to make sure they are staying focused on their career goals, from the first-year "fresh start" emphasizing academic focus and career exploration through a "bucket list" of the most important actions for graduating seniors.
Stevens notes that one of the most important things first-year college students can do is establish a strong academic foundation from their first semester onward. Once a GPA. is first established, it becomes more difficult to improve it significantly later. "Academic strength is one of the key factors that employers are looking for, and I don't think students are realizing that when they're freshmen," she said. "There may be a grade-point average attached to a job description." In addition, some majors have minimum GPA requirements.
Beyond the classroom and between semesters, they discuss internships, leadership opportunities, even the fine points of a job interview often overlooked by inexperienced interview subjects and advice for putting together the "full package" of a first-rate first impression for a potential employer.
A new website based on the show's topics -- online at http://findyourfuture.psu.edu -- offers additional resources.
"Find Your Future" is scheduled to air at 7 p.m. Eastern time July 11, with re-airings at 12:30 p.m. Monday, July 12, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 25, 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 28, and 12:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16; check local listings.
The July 25 rebroadcast is set to air immediately before the 7 p.m. debut of another Big Ten Network series, "Global Penn State," where cameras follow groups of Penn State students studying abroad and applying their education by tackling problems related to health care, unemployment, nutrition and renewable energy in marginalized communities. The first episode of "Global Penn State" takes place in Kenya.