Graduating seniors will have their work cut out for them as they attempt to enter a stagnant job force, which is increasingly becoming more competitive.”The main thing is for the graduates to be overall professional. Professional appearance, correspondence and communication is what employers are looking for,” said Vinessa Mundorff, employment specialist for SHSU Career Services.The national unemployment rate for September was 5.6 percent, with an overall rate of 6.1 percent in Texas, according to the Bureau of Labor and statistics. The national unemployment rate for college graduates has remained steady at about 2.9 percent; approximately 2 percent lower than individuals at other educational levels. Experts are also noting that starting salaries are a bit lower due to the economy. Some of the perks offered by employers are disappearing because they are no longer necessary to entice potential candidates. “Sign-on bonuses are probably not as big this year as they have been simply because the market is so tight,” said Lindsey Guethaman, Career Services graduate assistant. “We’ve seen a lot of entry-level positions offered by recruiters and have about 20,000 vacancies per month through our office.”Various reports have shown that employers are looking for people who have a variety of different talents, with good communication and research skills topping the lists of requirements. Another factor graduates should consider is that jobs are not disappearing, the job market is just shifting from one industry to another. Nationwide, gains in finance and health services offset the losses seen in the manufacturing and transportation industries. More employers are also eliminating managerial and full-time positions, opting for the flexibility of part-time employees.At a recent career expo, the majority of recruiters were offering positions in agriculture, accounting, finance and marketing, Guethaman said. “According to the National Association of College employers, engineering, nursing and history jobs are up, with liberal arts and business remaining about the same.”Some students are considering other temporary options to avoid the competitiveness and discouragement of the current market. Enrolling in graduate school or taking a position in the education field where jobs are more abundant allows some graduates to survive economically while waiting for the availability of jobs in their chosen field to improve.Guethaman said the job market is very competitive for graduates and anyone planning to graduate in December or May should begin their search now. She said students need to start sending resumes and scheduling interviews, to get a jump on the hiring process.Students who need help with any aspect of their job search can contact Career Services for assistance. “We offer a career search, resume assistance, mock interviews, strategy workshops; anything and everything the student needs,” Guethaman said. Other helpful sources are job fairs, networking and recruitment Web sites.For more information or to contact Career Services, call 294-1713 or visit the Web site at http://www.shsu.edu/~ccp_www/.