SAUGUS, Mass. - When the Big East colleges held a job fair recently, Jason Zema was at the front of the line.
"Quite a big turnout," Zema recalls. "You know you only got about 30 seconds where you can talk to an employer."
A marketing major, Zema graduated from the University of Connecticut last summer. Employers do plan to hire more graduated this year, surveys say. Still, only one in four seniors will graduate with a job.
Zema's been looking for a job for over a year, and he's getting discouraged. "Internships, full time positions. Anything."
The job market may be improving slightly, but with the sea of competition still so deep, some students have decided they're not going to wait in line at job fairs anymore.
"Those job fairs. Four-hundred people competing for 10 jobs," Jason Campbell says. Campbell is a senior at Babson College outside Boston.
"It's all about creating your own destiny," Campbell says.
Campbell was just a sophomore when he found a storefront in Saugus, Mass., and set up shop in the back room. He took the money he'd raised working summer jobs, pooled it with two other college friends and together they opened "Foot Traffik," an athletic footwear business.
"I'm a sneakerhead," Campbell says.
Through a website and the store, he's selling limited edition sneakers to high school and college students.
Colleges report a growing interest in entrepreneurship courses. Scott Gerber, 27, has started several businesses. He now teaches seminars to other aspiring entrepreneurs. "Entrepreneurship has become a viable career, whereas it used to be considered a renegade's choice," Gerber says.
Christy Tyler is what they call a "side-repreneur." Tyler got a job as a paralegal straight out of graduate school. But she's using that money to start her own photography business, shooting weddings and children.
"My ultimate goal is to be a full-time photographer" Tyler says.
The risks of entrepreneurship are high. Roughly half of all new businesses fail in the first five years. But John Campbell says it's worth it.
"The security that the job market offered 20 years ago isn't there," he said.
By selling fancy footwear, Campbell has run around the job market, and is charting his own path.
More from the "Help Wanted" Series