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Job Market Looks Brighter for College Graduates

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The Class of 2011 will be pleased to learn that overall hiring across all degrees is expected to increase by three percent while hiring at the Bachelor’s level is expected to surge by ten percent this year, according to the Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI) at Michigan State University.

CERI’s Recruiting Trends 2010-2011 Executive Summary was released on November 19th at the Midwest Association of Colleges and Employers’ Trends conference in Chicago.

Job Market Improving for 2011 Grads

CERI’s findings show that although things are starting to look up for students, finding a job won’t be simple—only about ten percent of the 4,600 companies included in the survey are driving up the hiring surge, reports Phil Gardner, director of CERI.

“There is a strong group of outliers that feel much more confident about the economy than everybody else,” Gardner said in a Chicago Tribune article.

Large companies who are aggressively filling positions that have been open for several years and fast growth and small companies who are creating new positions are the best place for new grads to hunt for jobs.

It’s the first time since the recession began that the job market looks brighter for new graduates and the first hiring expansion in two years for Bachelor’s degree graduates. According to the Pew Research Center, 37 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds have been unemployed or underemployed since the recession began in December 2007.

Top Majors for the Class of 2011

Nearly 40 percent of employers surveyed indicated that they will seek candidates from all majors, focusing more on the skills and abilities needed in the organization than the job candidate’s academic path.

According to Job Outlook 2011, a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), almost half of employers surveyed describe the overall job market for Class of 2011 Bachelor’s degree graduates as “good.” Last year, they called the job market “fair.”

Nearly 62 percent of the organizations taking part in Outlook 2011 cited plans to hire accounting graduates. Other popular bachelor’s degrees included finance (57 percent of respondents), electrical engineering (53.5 percent), computer science (53 percent), mechanical engineering (53 percent), and business administration/management (52 percent).

According to Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director, the results are not surprising. “These degrees are consistently cited by organizations involved in college recruiting and hiring as among the most sought after,” she said.

Begin Your Job Search Before Graduation

Students are advised to begin their job search sooner rather than later, and a month or two prior to graduation is usually too late to start looking for work. Many employers that recruit on college campuses fill positions by the end of fall semester or during the first few months of spring semester.

“Fortune 500 companies want to be on campus during the fall because they don’t want to get scooped by their competitors,” Rick Hearin, director of the career center at the University of Maryland, told the Chicago Tribune. “There is not a lot of recruiting activity going on in April and May anymore.”

Interview Advice for New College Graduates

Scoring an interview is definitely a step in the right direction, but it’s not a job guarantee. It’s important for new graduates to realize a few things.

  • Project confidence without being arrogant. You want to appear confident without acting like a know-it-all. Treat the interviewer as your equal.
  • Remember that an interview is a conversation. You’ll be answering questions, but you should also be asking them. It’s a two-way street.
  • Bring things up if you feel they’re important. If your top qualities go unmentioned during an interview, it’s your own fault. Bring things up and let the interviewer know why you’re perfect for the job.
  • Practice makes perfect. Hold practice interviews with a friend of a friend or someone you don’t know well. It will be a lot easier than practicing with someone you’re close to or practicing in front of a mirror.

For additional interview tips, be sure to visit the Career Advice section of StateUniversity.com!


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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