Employment specialists have a few words of advice for new graduates: Be flexible.
James H. Porter, president and owner of the Porter Group Inc., a Columbia firm that specializes in entry- and midlevel positions, advises entry-level job seekers to lower expectations and salary goals. Those with average college records should expect to make around $18,000.
"We're trying to tell them, 'Hey, get out there and start getting some experience' and when the economy starts to come back, maybe they'll get some more money," he says.
Steve Braun, owner of the Baltimore franchise of Sales Consultants, advises new grads with average college records to focus on office products, which he calls a breeding ground for sales people.
Undergraduates with a better than 3.0 grade average and who have well-rounded backgrounds should apply to Fortune 500 companies, which are extremely selective, Braun says.
Charles Minchik, owner of the Baltimore-area franchise of Healthcare Recruiters, warns that new grads will find difficulty breaking into medical sales, often perceived as high paying and recession-proof.
"We're in such a niche market that only the Fortune 50 companies will hire entry-level people," he says. "The Johnson & Johnsons, the Baxters, the Abbotts -- they don't run a body shop. They're going to take the cream of the crop."
Those who don't get entry-level jobs with firms like those should try to get two-plus years with a good national company -- not the local dealer or distributor, he emphasizes -- in consumer or office products, like Xerox or Pitney Bowes.
A successful track record there can be the springboard into the medical field, he says, adding that while the medical field is continually growing, the rate of growth has slowed down.