Career Center Director Theresa Harrigan is not exactly a neophyte when it comes to dealing with media. She has commented on job and career-related issues to various newspapers, and once appeared on a Sunday morning AM radio show to discuss the importance of etiquette for college students.

But Harrigan, who joined Boston College two years ago, received considerably more exposure recently when she was interviewed at her Southwell Hall office by NBC-TV's "Nightly News" on job prospects for the current generation of college students.

"I gave 40 minutes of advice on how students should approach the job market, especially in this economy," she said. "Just a few years ago when there was a high demand in the job market, students were receiving sign-on bonuses and enticing hiring offers with short deadlines for acceptance.

"The playing field has changed and students need to be proactive in their job search. Similar to managing a stock portfolio in a bad economy, students need to diversify their job search strategies, to kick it up a notch and put more energy and time into finding jobs. They need excellent, targeted resumes, not the cookie-cutter template format, and they need to be savvy regarding behavioral interviewing."

As is often the case in TV editing, however, Harrigan's actual on-screen time when the segment aired in early February turned out to be very brief.

Harrigan says her "four seconds of fame" came after a long and rather circuitous process. It began some time ago when the Wall Street Journal contacted her for a piece on parental involvement in the job search process. She referred them to Liberty Financial Companies Senior Vice President Frank Faggiano '62, who Harrigan says developed a second occupation as a career coach for recent college graduates after helping his friends' adult children with their job-hunting.

The story was picked up by NBC, she explains, which decided to look at college grads who hire career coaches and conducted its own interview with Faggiano as well as one of his clients, a recent BC alumnus.

"Eventually, NBC approached us to get the college career services' perspective on the job market," Harrigan said. "It came full circle back to me."

Harrigan, who also was interviewed recently by US News & World Report, anticipates receiving more media calls in another several weeks when graduation rolls around and local reporters invariably write about the labor market and job prospects for graduating seniors. It is an important story, she says, but the timing tends to be all wrong.

"They are usually very interested in numbers - how many students have jobs when they graduate or how many employers participated in on-campus recruiting. In actuality, it may take a graduate three to six months to find the right job and many employers who are hiring don't necessarily use on-campus recruiting to fill their positions. So, statistics in April or May don't really tell an accurate story of the job market."

Still, Harrigan says, if the story includes comments from graduates-to-be - as is often the case - then it can't be all bad.

"I think that the students' perspectives add a lot to the story and it's nice to give BC students their own voice," she said. "Our students really present themselves well and are great representatives of BC."

-Sean Smith


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