The struggling job market has sent many back to school to get a more advanced degree, to get started on a new career, or to get specialized skills training. But will the job market be any better for them when they finish their degrees?
Job prospects for 2010 graduates are still grim, though forecasts have improved over last year and even over the last few months. Perhaps the forward momentum will continue and graduates may find an even more improved job market by June?
A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed that hiring of recent graduates rose more than 10 percent from January to February. Of the companies surveyed, 27 percent said they planned to increase hiring this year, and 26 percent said they planned fewer hires.
Already, almost 22 percent of the class of 2010 have jobs secured after graduation.
Though graduates can’t expect to have their pick of top-paying jobs, the outlook is an improvement over last year, and has even surpassed estimates of a few months ago.
An English degree probably won’t get you far in the current market. Though it will appeal to employers’ need for workers who can translate skills for multiple job demands and who can adapt to a variety of situations in a changing economy.
However, certain fields are primed to grow more than others. Graduates can expect to find more demand in the fields of health care, especially for nurses and social workers; agriculture and food production; government; and professional and scientific services.
Top 10 jobs according to staffing firm Robert Half will be:
Senior financial analyst
Information systems security manager
Medical record clerk
Customer service representative
Though there will be more opportunities, the job market will still be tight and graduates will still need to maintain a competitive edge.
- Define your goals and build towards them through your work experience and training
- Highlight your specific, results-oriented accomplishments, either through your educational experience or in a work setting.
- Build professional contacts and work relationships through networking.
- Use extracurricular activities or hobbies to show that you have a wide range of skills and are adaptable.
Of course, there are a basic set of skills and characteristics that all employers will look for in hiring candidates.
Prospective employees that will be attractive candidates will have the following qualities:
- Takes initiative and is self-motivated
- Ability to network and sustain relationships
- Critical thinker able to manage a variety of information
- Effective and persuasive communicator
- Ability to manage projects and people
- Good leader and team player
- Innovative and creative thinker
The best advice in a tight job market is the same advice in any job market: Network, network, network. Working internships, freelance jobs and unpaid or temporary positions will give you an introduction to the company and a chance to make a name for yourself. When positions do open, you’ll be among the first to know and to be considered. Networking with other professionals in your field will also give you the inside scoop on when jobs open, who to contact and how to set yourself apart from the other applicants. Who you know could even get you the interview.