Class of 2010 Navigates Life After Amherst
By Elaine Teng '12, Editor-in-Chief
For many students, the very idea of life after Amherst is enough to send them cowering in their rooms. For the 431 members of the Class of 2010, however, the caps have been thrown, the gowns returned and life after Amherst is reality.

The newest batch of College alumni have entered a variety of fields, based on preliminary figures with 27 percent of the class reporting. Seventeen percent found new homes at graduate schools, 60 percent of those seeking jobs are employed and a handful are utilizing scholarships to pursue their interests. At the present moment, the top three industries are education, with 31 percent, banking and finance, at 18 percent and consulting, at 13 percent. Not surprisingly, these fields provide the top employers: Teach for America, Goldman Sachs, Bain & Company, Morgan Stanley and Omni Schools.

In order to help students secure these opportunities, the Career Center organized Steps to Success, a series of workshops throughout the year that focused on résumé writing, networking and interviewing techniques. They also invited a consultant to help students transfer the skills of their liberal arts education to ones applicable and marketable in the labor force.

“Critical thinking and research skills are what we call fundamental transferable skills that are desired by virtually every single employer across all industries,” said Director of the Career Center Allyson Moore. “Students just need the language about how to promote their strengths in a way that resonates with employers, so that’s what we did with that session and intend to keep doing this year.”

Most importantly, the Career Center wanted to focus on developing ties between alumni and students and hosted several networking receptions around the country that proved tremendously successful, according to Moore. She especially emphasized the importance of connections and networking in an increasingly competitive world, particularly one affected by the recession.

“It’s important to always couple any job search activity with networking,” she said. “Just applying ... without trying to identify someone who works within the organization who can be an internal ally or champion for you is almost approaching a waste of time because there’s too much competition for each opening.”

Emily Mackey ’10 is one graduate who utilized the College’s Experience website. She is currently an intern at National Public Radio, a position the Russian major never imagined herself in.

“It took me about five months to find a job, but it was worth it to find something I’m enjoying so much,” she said. “When I graduated I was unemployed, which was a little scary, but I kept looking around Experience and Boston-specific websites, and this very unexpected opportunity turned up. If you had asked me a year ago what I would be doing after I graduated, I would never have guessed this, but that’s what is exciting — and terrifying — about the job search.”

On the other hand, Liz Butterfield ’10, a French and Political Science double major, finds her majors extremely applicable in her current jobs. She works for an international non-profit group organizing workshops in cities across the world.

“My main responsibilities lie in handling the French-speaking African side of things,” she explained. “I get to use a lot of French, work and make friends with people in countries like Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, the DRC, Togo and the Ivory Coast and learn a lot about different parts of the world. My French and Political Science majors have been more relevant to my work than I could have ever imagined.”

However, not all ’10s have found the transition from Amherst to the work force so smooth.

“Job prospects aren’t very good,” said Andrew Chung ’10, a History and Asian Civilizations double major. “I’ve had a couple of interviews but none of them have really worked out. I’ve sent out something like 100 to 200 job applications. For me I was really frustrated with Experience and how it listed a lot of jobs on the East Coast and jobs that really tended to do with computer science or economics. It’s good, but it didn’t really pertain to me.”

Nonetheless, Moore hopes students and graduates alike will not be disheartened and predicts that the job market will improve.

“The job market is beginning to slowly rebound,” she said. “In fact, employers reported anticipating hiring 13.5 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2011 than they hired from the Class of 2010.”

Issue 01, Submitted 2010-09-02 16:22:54