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Cap? Check. Gown? Check. Resume?

'It’s still not an easy job market, but this year I sense that students are more optimistic.'

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Congratulations graduates. Now, about that job.

The class of 2013 is about to flood the nation's waiting rooms in hopes of a job interview--those critical minutes when they'll try to convince an employer that his or her long wait for that perfect employee is over. The problem, of course, is that the waiting room is already crowded with millions of others, with a lot more experience, waiting their turn to prove worthy of employment. And those who have waited the longest have learned the recession's toughest lesson: to take the job--any job.

"You've got a Ph.D. flipping burgers," Idaho Department of Labor spokesman Bob Fick told Citydesk. "There have been a number of analyses of the labor force in the last two years that indicate people are more than willing to work beneath their skill level because that's the only job they can get."

In 1990, nearly 80 percent of Idaho jobs were in the service sector. Now, Fick said, that number has grown to 85 percent.

"The average pay for a service sector job is about $10,000 less per year than the average pay in goods production," he said.

But 2013 graduates have reason for some encouragement.

"There's more optimism than last year," said Debbie Kaylor, Career Center director at Boise State.

Kaylor told Citydesk that more than 2,000 students walk through her center's doors, looking for help in landing that ever-elusive job interview. The center coaches thousands more in crafting resumes and interview techniques in outreach programs throughout the school year.

"And our spring career fair was the largest in four years. We had over 80 employers and more than 1,200 students," she said. "During the worst of the recession, we had some years when less than 50 employers showed up, and there was a bit of hopelessness from some students. It's still not an easy job market, but this year I sense that students are more optimistic."

And new statistics indicate that a college degree still means something in the 2013 job market. The New York Times reported May 4 that college graduates have weathered the recession "with remarkable resilience," registering a 3.9 percent jobless rate in April, compared to the overall national unemployment rate of 7.5 percent.

"The kind of job a college graduate can get and the pay they get, marked up against the debt they've rung up trying to get that degree, all plays into what the real value of that degree is," said Fick.

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  • The New York Times

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