We had a milder winter and the signs of spring are already evident. As students across the country prepare for college graduations this spring, they are hopeful about their prospects in the job market. Is there support for that hope and what should students be doing to maximize their opportunities?
Unemployment is Down
Nationally the unemployment rate is down which is good news for graduates. While the recovery has been slow, there is progress. College graduates should be seeking “real” jobs not settling for positions as waiters, bartenders or baristas. Their investment in a college education gives them an opportunity to take a significant next step in their careers. There are jobs.
The Retirement Wave Has Begun
Why should college graduates care about retirements? The much anticipated wave of baby boomer retirements was slowed significantly by the economic downturn. Baby boomers are now starting to retire and there are many more to come. As those experienced workers leave their employers, positions will open up for advancement and entry level positions will be available for college graduates. Many employers are very focused on building their talent for the future and are actively recruiting top talent from the upcoming college grads.
Movement of the Complacent
In the last several years many workers have been under-employed due to the economy or have been sitting tight in jobs they don’t like not wanting to be “last in and first out” at a new company if troubled times hit. Many of those employees are now looking to make a change. The good news is that most of them have been working several years by now so they should not be direct competition for the recent grad but could help open up some entry level opportunities for the new graduates.
Networking is Critical
Gradates need to realize that sitting behind their laptops submitting online applications is not likely to land them a job by graduation. Networking is critical. Graduates should start now if they haven’t already – reach out to alumni, family friends, former colleagues, etc. to build a network in the companies you most want to work for in the future. Learn about the corporate culture, the hiring process and the critical qualifications for the positions that interest you. When you do see a position of interest, ask your connection to share your resume with the hiring manager. This helps get you noticed. Do not overlook the critical importance of networking in your job search if you hope to be successful.
Landing a job is still hard work and requires your best efforts and attention to detail but there is indeed reason for hope this spring as there are increased opportunities available for recent graduates.