Job Outlook Offers Mixed Bag For New Grads

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Students who are finishing up their college studies this month or next are finding that their job prospects are rather limited. However, for those who are able to find employment they’re seeing some improvement in pay, according to the most recent annual forecast conducted by CareerBuilder.

business manThe CareerBuilder Annual Job Forecast survey is one of several released about this time of year, giving new grads an idea of what they can expect when seeking employment. Working with Harris Interactive, 2778 hiring managers and Human Resources professionals were contacted from February 10 to March 2 in order to gauge their thoughts.

The survey revealed that the number of employers planning to hire college grads is at 44 percent which is basically unchanged from the 43 percent in 2009 and sharply below the 79 percent expected in 2007. However, for those who are planning to hire college grads, 21 percent said that they plan on hiring more of them this year than last.

“Even though companies are gradually starting to hire again, the job market will still be challenging for college graduates this year,” said Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America. “To take advantage of the opportunities that exist, it’s important for recent graduates to start their search early, remain positive and keep an open mind. In addition, networking and showing relevant work experience – whether it is internships, class work or volunteering – can help make your application stand out.”

The CareerBuilder survey also revealed that 30 percent of grads can expect to land a job paying between $30-40 thousand with 19 percent earning between $40-50 thousand. Another 19 percent can expect to make at least $50,000 right away while 33 percent will earn below $30,000.

Students who haven’t held a “real job” yet should take heart: HR pros reveal that internships, part-time work in another area or field and volunteer work are of more value than class work, involvement in school organizations, frat or sorority involvement and even sports. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed considered internships to be of top importance.

Beyond experience, HR pros are also looking at certain attributes in prospective employees: good fit for the company culture; someone who comes in with good ideas and questions; educational background; level of enthusiasm and someone who has done their homework about the company.

Finally, leveraging social media, relevant experience and flexibility are important keys for job hunters to keep in mind as they search for work, attributes important at any time, but more so in today’s tough economy.

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Categories: Career Planning