Amy McDonagh, a 21-year-old student at Boston University, will graduate next May.
But she has been looking for a job since September.
"I would hope to have a job by the end of the summer," said McDonagh, who was home for the holidays visiting her parents in Towson. "I'm still optimistic, but in talking to people who graduated last year, they had problems getting jobs. They said it would be even harder this year. I don't want to take a job just to have it."
McDonagh was one of about 2,200 students and recent graduates who peddled their resumes at a job fair at Towson State University yesterday. Recruiters gave them firm handshakes but few promises.
New college graduates will be entering a recession-laden economy affected by layoffs and few new hires.
TSU Director of Career Placement Francis J. LeMire said the 15th annual job fair was helpful to employers who wanted to locate potential entry-level professionals when the recession lets Many are looking to hire by next spring, he said.
"Some employers are looking for good people even though they don't have openings," LeMire said. "Employers have learned from the past that they have to keep new blood coming along."
There were 121 companies who set up booths with recruiters. Most of the prospective employees stood in line to meet the representatives and offer a resume. All were neatly dressed in business suits and many carried brief cases and portfolio folders.
"When you get a chance to talk to these companies, they tell you at first that there are no openings," said Ben DaVani, a 26-year-old TSU May graduate who was seeking a better job. "It's tough, but you just have to keep going around and looking."
Dwight Sheesley, a recruiter for Alexander & Alexander, an Owings Mills accounting firm, said he expected to fill three boxes with resumes during the eight-hour fair.
"We do have some positions available, but they are entry-level accounting positions," Sheesley said. "There are a lot of people out looking now and there is more of an urgency to find a job with some of the students."
Jonathan Maule, a job recruiter for K-Mart, said he could offer some $22,000 retail management training jobs in K-Mart stores -- but not until next year. He, too, was piling resumes in a box.