Recruiters at Friday’s Tenth Annual Career Fair set a dismal tone for the class of 2010.

Although many recruiters interviewed said there are fewer job opportunities than in the past and more competition for the spots available, some said the general outlook this year is better than last year’s. Given the scarcity of employment options, many of the recruiters from non-profit organizations said, it is likely seniors will be considering less conventional options.

“It’s certainly very challenging — talking to friends who are ’09 and ’10, it seems like [finding a job] is absolutely more difficult,” said Elizabeth Gulliver ’08, who has been working in financial consulting at Cambridge Associates LLC since graduating from Yale. “[But] I think people have a more positive outlook this year. Last year, the market uncertainty made hiring very difficult and unusual.”

Many recruiters interviewed from the financial sector expressed similar views.

Allison Katz-Mayfield, in her second year at the Analysis Group, an economic consulting group, said, “The job market this year is still pretty rough. I think it’s better than it was last year, but there’s definitely still going to be a lot of competition for jobs.”

More positive than most, Michael Renda ’04, who has spent five years with DC Energy Quantitative, a proprietary trading firm that analyzes investment opportunities in the energy market, and four years as a Yale recruiter, said students looking for jobs in finance should keep in mind that the new hires won’t be starting until next June and that investment banking is experiencing “healthy growth.”

“There is a lot of competition, but at the same time, we’re growing as well,” said Hanna Ritt, who has been working at Bloomberg L.P., a financial software and news company, for over a year.

Due to the scarcity of job in finance and consulting, popular fields for graduating seniors, many graduates may look to other opportunities, particularly in non-profits, many recruiters said.

For instance, Katie Molteni Muir, who was manning the booth for Yale-China Association, a non-profit that gives out fellowships to teach in China, said more people may consider doing a two-year fellowship with the organization — an option they may not have considered in earlier years.

“There are things out there, but you’re going to have to move outside your ideal area,” Muir said.

But even though there many non-traditional positions available, competition will still be fierce. For example, the U.S. Department of Justice’s paralegal program received about 2,000 applicants for only 60 spots last year, Cheryl Page, who has worked there for 29 years, said.

“Last [year] was [the worst], but I can’t imagine that this year would be better than last year,” she said.

Still, Emily Blatter, who has been with Teach for America since 2007, said she wouldn’t characterize this year as the worst.

“It’s a difficult time,” Blatter said, “I know people are desperate for jobs and hopefully, we can have placements for them.”