NEW YORK (MainStreet) After years of gloomy employment prospects, it looks like things are finally starting to look up for recent college grads. According to a survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers plan to hire 8.6% more new college graduates this year for their U.S. operations than they did last year. Overall, nearly half (48.4%) of employers surveyed said they are increasing their college hiring, while less than 30% said they plan to cut back.
Although the Class of 2014 is definitely lucking out this year, those graduating this spring should still job search aggressively and follow smart strategies in order to gain an edge over the competition. Read on for some top tips from career experts on how recent grads can snag a great position.
Start Looking Now
Once you finally earn that college diploma, it can be tempting to put off your job search for a while. After spending years studying, writing papers and taking tests, isn't it time for a much-needed break? Well, not really.
"New college grads should start their search right away, because it could take upwards of a year to find a job," advises career expert Alexandra Levit, author of They Don't Teach Corporate in College: A Twenty-Something's Guide to the Business World. "The job market for college grads is better but it's still not that great."
While job boards such as Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com can be a good way to find out about opportunities, it's also important to network online and in-person.
"Don't base your job search solely on advertised openings," says Levit. "Increase your chances of landing interviews by personally connecting with individuals within your target companies."
Some ways to widen your professional network include joining groups on career networking sites such as LinkedIn and getting involved with professional organizations within your area of interest, suggests Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, a global staffing service.