By David Pitt -- AP Personal Finance Writer
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — If you're a recent college graduate or about to get that diploma, you're likely stressed out by the thought of looking for a job in the midst of the highest unemployment rate in a generation.
A National Association of Colleges and Employers annual student survey said just 20 percent of 2009 graduates who applied for a job actually have one. But some big companies have good news: They are looking for people like you.
Even in a recession, employers need to continue to build their pipeline of talent. One company that learned its lesson is Chevron Corp.
For a period of time the company discontinued its on-campus recruiting. Then two years ago, it found itself with a shortage of middle-aged midlevel managers. In 2007 and 2008, the company hired 12,000 experienced workers in their 30s and 40s to catch up, said Susan Houghton, manager of human resources communications.
This year Chevron went back on college campuses and is using online career fairs to keep the entry-level pipeline filled.
Chevron expects to hire about 1,000 college students or interns along with 900 experienced workers this year, said Houghton.
Similarly, accounting firm Ernst & Young, says it plans to recruit recent graduates to fill 5,000 full-time jobs and internships in the United States and Canada.
Of course there are advantages. Hiring the most qualified college graduates is much easier now than it will be when the economy recovers and they've taken jobs elsewhere, said Dan Black, director of Ernst & Young's on-campus recruiting.
Indeed there are opportunities. Francesco Pellegrino, 22, of Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. is one of the lucky ones. He successfully landed interviews with two top accounting firms, which contacted him through the university's recruiting process.
He graduated from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn., this week with a job offer in hand from Ernst & Young in the company's tax division.