Employment: The Next Step After Graduation
Graduation is an exciting time in the lives of students. After years in the classroom preparing for life after school, graduation marks a time when students are finally ready to enter the ‘real world’ and land their first professional job.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics advises that earning a college degree can greatly improve a person’s chance of landing a job. The more education a person receives, the lower his or her prospects of being unemployed become. The BLS said that, as of 2014, individuals with a bachelor’s degree could earn on average $1,101 per week, compared to $668 for persons with high school diplomas. Those with bachelor’s degrees had a 3.5 percent unemployment rate compared to 6 percent for those with only high school diplomas.
The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that roughly two million students earn bachelor’s degrees each year. Many others will go on to earn master’s or doctorates before entering the workforce.
As the economy continues to improve, job prospects follow suit. According to a job outlook from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers had plans to hire 8.3 percent more new college graduates in 2015 than in 2014. The growth of businesses and the rising rate of retiring Baby Boomers has spurred employment prospects.
Landing a job post-graduation requires diligence on the part of new grads, and the following are a handful of ways to make those pursuits more successful.
• Hit the ground running. It’s tempting for recent grads to take the summer off and have a lax approach to job hunting after all of the hard work they put into their education. But recent grads can get a head start on their competition by beginning their searches immediately after earning their degrees. Create a list of a few target companies you have your eye on, and then tap into your network to find a contact at each company and reach out to that contact directly.
• Focus on a career path. Prospective employers prefer that applicants have some certainty regarding the types of jobs they are looking for. Take a career assessment test or work with a career counselor to narrow down the fields and positions that speak to you. Avoid the “I’m willing to do or learn anything” approach to job applications. Employers may see that as desperation.