GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Lauren Cracchiolo, of Manalapan, a recruiter for Wells Fargo Bank, interviewed prospective candidates Thursday at a job fair at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

About 80 companies from around New Jersey participated in the fall job fair. Graduates in suits and ties went booth to booth to pitch themselves to prospective employers.

Cracchiolo said she remembers what it was like to be on the other side of the recruiting table.

“Absolutely. It’s nerve-wracking at first. You don’t know what to expect,” she said.

She recently gave a seminar to Stockton students with tips about interviewing, resumes and job strategy.

For graduates attending job fairs, she suggested approaching their No. 2 choice first to build confidence and sharpen their two-minute presentation before going after their top job.

Edward Tamburo, of Manahawkin, graduated from Stockton in August with a degree in business administration and has been on six interviews so far.

“It’s pretty tough,” he said. “My parents are keeping me motivated, telling me don’t give up.”

Tamburo is interested in the hospitality industry. His brother has an internship with the Walt Disney Co.

“I worked in retail for five years so I have people skills,” he said.

Some of his friends are having similar difficulty getting their first jobs out of college. Only a friend who worked in information technology had his pick of offers, he said.

Dan O’Connell, of Marlton, is pursuing a degree in finance. He said his friends have had mixed experiences finding jobs out of college.

“Some stories are pretty scary. Others do OK. One of my older friends went to ING. Another went to Urban Outfitters’ corporate office,” he said.

Brian Moscogiuri, a recruiter and market reporter for Toms River-based Urner Barry, was looking for Spanish-speaking graduates to cover commodities in Latin America.

Moscogiuri said the job market seems more welcoming to graduates this year than when he graduated in 2010.

“Some of my colleagues say it’s a little better. Some of the pressure of getting a job has eased,” he said. “They might not get exactly the job they want right away.”

Moscogiuri knows how expectations sometimes meet reality. He studied architectural design. Now he is an expert on all things eggs for Urner Barry.

According to the Accenture 2013 College Graduate Employment Survey, 41 percent of workers who graduated from college in the past two years say they are underemployed and working in jobs that do not require college degrees.

Despite their degrees, two-thirds of those polled said they will need more training to get their desired job.

There was also a wide gap in expectations between 2013 graduates and their peers who graduated in 2011. About 42 percent of 2011 graduates said they need to pursue a graduate degree to further their careers while just 18 percent of 2013 graduates feel this way.

One company, Becker, attended the fair to promote its services helping students pass the notoriously difficult certified public accounting exam, which had a passing rate of just 44 percent in one of its four sections last year. Representative Jackie Phriender, of Mount Laurel, said customers who take the Becker course pass at twice the national average.

“It’s a challenging time. You dedicate your whole life to this exam until you’re done,” she said. “That’s why they call the CPA exam ‘can’t pass again,’” she said.

So is it a buyers or sellers job market?

“It’s a little of both,” said Sarah Weingarten, of West Long Branch, a recruiter for property managers Avalon Communities.

“Our company has seen a lot of growth. We’re looking for people who are really motivated and have a lot of initiative,” she said.

But college graduation is a time of optimism and new beginnings. Amanda Rencher, of Pitman, said she was looking forward to starting a career as a physical therapist. She decided to pursue this field after going through rehabilitation on a shoulder she injured playing softball.

“I’m not nervous at all. I’m excited,” she said.

Contact Michael Miller:

609-272-7217

Been working with the Press for about 27 years.