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Jobs Outlook for 2011 College Graduates

Recently graduated from college?  Here are a few facts about your Class of 2011:

  • The U.S. Department of Education estimates that approximately 1.7 million students graduated with bachelor’s degrees in the 2011 winter/spring graduation season.
  • Females outnumbered males, with the U.S. Department of Education reporting 140 females for every 100 males in the Class of 2011.
  • This class is the most indebted in history, with an average personal debt of $23,000 after graduation.
  • The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that the average starting job salary for graduates with bachelor’s degrees will be nearly $37,000, down from nearly $47,000 in 2009.

Undoubtedly it will be a tough go for this year’s graduates.  But if you’re looking for a job the news isn’t all bad:

  • In a survey of approximately 4,600 employers nationwide, the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University found that hiring for graduates will increase about 10 percent this year.  This is significantly higher than the increase in overall hiring for all degrees, estimated at 3 percent.
  • Another survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers reports similar findings.  According to this survey, employers across the country reported that they will hire 19 percent more new college graduates this year than they did in 2010.
  • Hiring prospects remain better for college graduates than for non-graduates, with the unemployment rate for workers with bachelor’s degrees (or higher) at 4.5 percent.
  • Although employers are still cautious about hiring, demand remains strong for college graduates in the healthcare, technical, engineering, construction and business sectors.  For a detailed long-term outlook on hundreds of jobs, follow this link to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

If you’ve recently entered the job market, here are a few tips to make your job search after college more productive:

  • Make sure your résumé is up to date. Review your résumé to be sure it has all the latest information, including your college activities and your major.  You may even want to prepare multiple versions of your résumé that cater to different positions or industries in which you’re interested.
  • Build your network. Many companies don’t advertise open positions, so networking plays an important role in finding job opportunities.  Keep in touch with family, friends, professors or past co-workers to learn about potential job opportunities.  Build your online network using sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to meet new people, garner recommendations and investigate potential job leads.  Be careful, however, to mind your online image, as a majority of employers are now researching job candidates’ backgrounds online.
  • Use on-campus resources. College career centers usually welcome recent grads and can help in your job search. You also might be able to connect with other alumni who can provide advice.
  • Consider an internship. Internships offer valuable experience and can provide an excellent introduction to the working world.  Beyond building skills, having an internship on your résumé shows a potential employer that you have the abilities to succeed in a job after college.  In some cases, internships can even lead to full-time job offers.
  • Request informational interviews. Research companies you would like to work for and ask for informational interviews to learn more about these organizations.
  • Meet with a Wood Personnel Recruiter. As Middle Tennessee’s leading employment services company, our recruiting and staffing specialists can be your eyes and ears in the hidden job market.  We can provide useful feedback on your résumé and interview skills, and match you with the ideal career opportunity or a promising temporary assignment.  Simply put, we want to help you achieve your personal and professional goals.
  • Treat your job search as if it’s a full-time job. Bring the same discipline and work ethic to your job search as you would to your first real job.  Proactively build relationships, work closely with university career centers and capitalize on real-world job experiences through internships and temporary assignments.
  • Be aggressive and persistent. Like it or not, competition for the best jobs is – and will continue to be – fierce.  Prepare yourself mentally for what may be a longer-than-normal job search.  While it may be tiring, and you may be tempted to give up, keep at it.  Staying positive, aggressive and persistent will help ensure that your job search after college is successful.