Katie Scarmardo envisions herself working at a nonprofit group, helping youngsters cope with grief or trauma. She thinks the work will be fulfilling, even if it won't make her rich.
But she's learning that finding the perfect job isn't easy.
"I'm not even getting interviews," said Scarmardo, 23, who graduated from the University of North Texas in May and has been aggressively looking for work since returning from volunteer work in India over the summer.
With her wedding planned for this weekend, she has temporarily put her job search on hold but plans to broaden it in the new year.
"After Jan. 1, I'm going to look at every job that I can apply for," she said.
For recent college graduates, the job market has rarely been more competitive.
While vying for paychecks with other aggressive young candidates, they must also compete with older, experienced workers who have lost jobs.
With the economic recovery still weak, employers remain uncertain about how many college graduates they will hire in upcoming months.
Some recent grads are concerned that they won't land a job in their chosen field. They worry about being unemployed for too long and not being able to earn enough money to pay back student loans or begin saving for their futures.
"I basically live off of my parents," said Elizabeth Knighten, a May 2009 journalism graduate of the University of North Texas who is an unpaid intern at a Dallas publication. "I love writing. I love my internship. It comes at a price."
Unemployment spiked in recent years across the board and in every part of the country.
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