At Temple University, CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace reports, graduating students are learning the art of the first impression.
James Wilson, 23, and his classmates tried to master the 30-second spiel at a "boot camp" for college seniors.
Career center director Rachel Brown and her team train students how to sell themselves when jobs are scarce. Brown concedes her role is part therapist. "We all need 'em," she says with a laugh.
When asked what he's doing to set himself apart from other applicants, Wilson says, "I smile, I smile."
It's the right approach for someone who wants to be a motivational speaker and is trying not to think about $20,000 in college debt.
"It's frustrating," Wilson says, "Because I never expected in a million years to be in this position because I was so stuck on the American dream."
Still in search of their dream jobs, seniors at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh hit the runway to learn the dos and don'ts of interview attire.
In North Carolina, communications major Robert Hoppey spoofed the popular TV show "The Office" for a student club presentation. It's part of his souped-up multimedia resume, which shows off his sense of humor along with his accomplishments.
Hoppey explains, "You really do need to find ways to stand out and you can't rely on the cold applications and the traditional ways of going about things."
He plans to stay on the hunt on the road -- as he rides out the recession this summer, biking for charity.
For James Wilson, it was show time: he had an interview with Verizon for a management trainee program.
More than an hour later, he emerged with - you guessed it - a big grin.
©2009 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved
Copyright 2009 CBS. All rights reserved.