This year’s college grads are experiencing the warmest welcome to the labor market since the Great Recession. In the highest outlook since 2007, 65 percent of employers say they plan to hire recent college graduates this year—up from 57 percent last year, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey.
If you haven’t been able to find a job yet, don’t panic. Here are the three steps that will get you in front of employers and interviewing for lucrative positions quickly.
Highlight desirable and in-demand qualities
Your job search may not have taken off if you’re feeling stumped by job descriptions and requirements. The truth is, even if you’re missing some qualifications, you can still apply to positions. The key to getting a hiring manager’s attention, then, is selling the skills you do have to prove why you’re the right person for the job. Research what areas of knowledge are in-demand, like the most sought-after majors that employers say they’re looking to hire in 2015:
- Business and Technical (38 percent)
- Computer and Information Sciences (27 percent)
- Engineering (18 percent)
- Math and Statistics (14 percent)
- Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences (14 percent)
- Communications Technologies (12 percent)
- Engineering Technologies
- Communication and Journalism
- Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities (9 percent)
- Science Technologies (8 percent)
- Education (7 percent)
Then link your own education and experience, where applicable, to these areas of expertise. Are there past examples you have that can demonstrate expertise? Certifications or classes? Tailoring your resume to job descriptions and in-demand skills will make you stand out to hiring managers.
Look where opportunities abound
Information technology (30 percent) and customer service jobs (28 percent) top the list of position types hiring managers are primarily looking to fill with recent college grads. Opportunities also abound in finance/accounting (22 percent), sales (21 percent) and business development (19 percent).
If you’re looking for a broader look across the economy, you may consider joining any of the top 20 industries that will grow the fastest over the next five years, like translation and interpretation services, specialty hospitals (except psychiatric and substance abuse), residential remodelers, home health care services, wine and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers, electronic shopping and environment, conservation and wildlife organizations. Whether it’s a summer gig or an entry-level job that could lead to something bigger, capitalizing on in-demand positions and industries means going after jobs that employers need to fill quickly.
Network, both on and offline
For young professionals wary of in-person networking (and the awkward conversations you may need to get out of), there are plenty of employment-related social media sites you should be using. And depending on what hiring managers find, your online information can help or hurt your chances of getting the job. Be sure to edit your social profile settings to highlight your best qualities for employers to see.
Don’t be afraid to get offline and out of networking groups, and instead look to less conventional ways to grow your professional network. You may find yourself meeting C-level execs at the morning workout class at your gym or other influential networkers at volunteer opportunities. Engage with industries and organizations you’re interested in or passionate about and show a more human side that often goes unnoticed during more formal networking events. Also prepare an elevator speech so you’ll be ready to share your career goals and availability the moment opportunity comes knocking.
It may feel frustrating at times trying to get traction in your job search, especially when you’re starting out your career, but researching in-demand positions and tailoring your experience to what employers are looking for will turn the tides in your favor.