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College graduates have great hiring prospects this year

If donning a very fashionable cap and gown, listening to lengthy commencement speeches and making it through a graduation party where the most common phrase is “Have you found a job yet?” sounds like a less than ideal way to end your college career, at least you have this to look forward to: 57 percent of employers say they plan to hire new college graduates, up from 53 percent last year and up significantly from 44 percent in 2010, according to a new CareerBuilder and CareerRookie.com study.

But if you’re wondering why 100 percent of employers aren’t frantically emailing you job offers, it’s time to get wise about some of the hiring concerns related to recent grads. “Education plays a critical role in bridging the skills gap and fostering a capable and productive workforce,” says Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America. “The vast majority of employers feel that the skills and knowledge base students gain at academic institutions are aligned with their company needs, but nearly one in four sense a disconnect. As roles within organizations grow more complex and demand for certain degrees outpaces graduation rates, there is an opportunity for employers to work more closely with schools to help guide learning experiences for the next generation of workers.”

Read on to learn about your job prospects, what kind of pay you might expect and how you can make employers see you’re the right person for their team.

Which majors are most in demand?

As with years past, demand for business and technical majors remains high. The most sought-after majors this year include:

  • Business – 39 percent
  • Computer and information sciences – 28 percent
  • Engineering – 18 percent
  • Math and statistics – 14 percent
  • Health professions and related clinical sciences – 14 percent
  • Communications technologies – 12 percent
  • Engineering technologies – 11 percent
  • Education – 7 percent
  • Liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and humanities – 10 percent
  • Science technologies – 7 percent
  • Communication and journalism – 7 percent

However, remember that just because you got the degree, it doesn’t mean that you’ve got the job yet. Employers expect to see proof that you’ll be ready to apply your learning to their company. Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, in an interview for USA Today, voices the concerns employers may have: “These companies may think the graduates are academically strong, but they aren’t sure they are prepared for the complexity of today’s jobs. Companies are asking these questions about graduates: Are they just book smart? Or will they have street smarts as well? The marketplace is evolving at a faster pace than it did in the past, and academia may not be keeping pace with technology that businesses need.”

Put these employer concerns to rest

To avoid getting passed over for more experienced candidates, be sure to address the concerns of employers in your application materials. Point to examples in your course work, internships, volunteer experiences and personal projects that demonstrate just how qualified and capable you are.

The most common concerns employers have that recent grads may not be ready include:

  • Too much emphasis on book learning instead of real world learning – 53 percent
  • My company needs a blend of technical skills and soft skills gained from liberal arts – 35 percent
  • Entry level roles are growing more complex – 26 percent
  • Not enough focus on internships/apprenticeships – 16 percent
  • Technology is changing too quickly for academics to keep up – 16 percent
  • Not enough students are graduating with the degrees my company needs – 10 percent

And be even more aware if you’re applying for the following positions, as employers are most concerned about roles tied to customer service (41 percent), public relations/communications (22 percent), business development (21 percent), sales (21 percent), general office functions (20 percent), and IT (18 percent). These are some of the more competitive fields that employers don’t want to risk adding a bad hire to, so quell their concerns and prove you’ve got what it takes to keep up.

What kind of paycheck can you expect?

Your pay will largely depend on what field you enter and the size and success of the organization, as well as what negotiation skills you bring to the table. But according to the survey results, employers are expected to offer new graduates the same starting salaries they did last year and nearly one-third (30 percent) say they expect their initial offers to increase.

Expected starting salaries for recent graduates break down as follows:

  • Under $30,000 – 26 percent
  • $30,000 to less than $40,000 – 30 percent
  • $40,000 to less than $50,000 – 20 percent
  • $50,000 and higher – 24 percent

In order to compete for the best pay, learn from one of the take-away messages of the survey: Employers are expecting more of their employees in entry-level jobs, says Prasanna Tambe, an assistant professor at the New York University Stern School of Business, and one of the authors of “The Talent Equation”. “Those first jobs are more complex than they used to be, requiring more industry acumen and technical skills. In fact, for many jobs today, it’s important to have a blend of interpersonal and technical skills. It’s hard to get all that from classes in college. A lot comes from hands-on work experience.”


3 tips for finding the perfect holiday job

Every year, it seems as though the winter holiday shopping season begins earlier and earlier. Before the last Halloween-themed candy bag has been removed from the shelves, stores have already started decking their walls with holiday décor.

Then there are those stores that prefer to wait until after Thanksgiving before celebrating the next round of holidays.

Yet, if you're in the market for a seasonal job this winter, it's not too early to begin your search. And to help in your quest, we've compiled some top tips for pursuing the perfect holiday position.

Find a job that fits your needs.
When searching for a holiday position, think about what you're looking for in an ideal job. Are flexible hours important? How much does the company culture matter? Do you want to work somewhere known for its great benefits? Is location a major factor?

If finding a job near your home tops your wish list, make sure to check out the free Jobs by CareerBuilder app, which recently rolled out the addition of filters to make your mobile job search more precise. This includes a distance filter, which allows you to search within five miles of a desired zip code.

Find a job with staying power.
While not always the case, many job seekers are hoping that their holiday gig eventually turns into a full-time career. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, there are good odds of that happening: 57 percent of employers predict they'll transition some seasonal staff into full-time, permanent roles.

If that's your goal, don't be afraid to ask the hiring manager if the position could turn permanent, and make it clear that you're interested. If hired, prove that you're worth the long-term investment by going above and beyond your job description and being a trusted, go-to resource for your boss.

Find a company that plays to your strengths.
While retail reigns during the holiday season, don't worry if retail sales isn't your strong suit. CareerBuilder's survey found that companies across industries are hiring for a variety of areas, including customer service, clerical support, inventory management, hosting and shipping/delivery.

No matter what kind of job you're seeking, below are nine diverse companies that are currently hiring for a range of seasonal roles:

1. Booker
Industry: Software
Sample job titles: Client success specialist, sales development representative, QA analyst, developer
Locations: New York; Orange County, Calif.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Landsdale, Penn.

2. ICW Group
Industry: Insurance
Sample job titles: Claims examiner, business development underwriter, underwriting tech, premium auditor, risk management consultant, IT
Locations: San Diego, Sacramento, Pleasanton and Woodland Hills, Calif.; Lake Mary, Fla; Wayne, Pa.

3. Inktel Contact Center Solutions
Industry: Outsourcing, telecommunications, customer service, hospitality
Sample job titles: Customer service representative, supervisor, junior developer, senior developer, junior network engineer, senior network engineer, IT desktop support specialist, desktop support analyst, client relationship specialist, account executive, client executive, court reporter
Locations: Miami, Miami Lakes, Doral, Miramar, Tamarac and Orlando, Fla.

4. Jason's Deli
Industry: Restaurant/food service
Sample job titles: Delivery driver; kitchen team member; customer service team members including cashier/order taker, cook/baker, prep, dishwasher/utility, and production line associate
Locations: Chicago; Brookfield, Wis.; Houston; Savannah and Atlanta, Ga.; Charlottesville, Va.; Birmingham, Ala.

5. LTD Commodities
Industry: Ecommerce
Sample job titles: Customer service, warehouse, call center
Locations: Bannockburn and Aurora, Ill.

6. Lou Malnati's
Industry: Restaurant/food service
Sample job titles: Area manager, restaurant manager, server, cashier, kitchen worker, delivery driver, host/hostess
Locations: Chicago, Northbrook, Oak Park, Lincolnwood, Bloomingdale, Bolingbrook, Buffalo Grove, Carol Stream, Downers Grove, Elk Grove, Evanston, Skokie, Geneva and Grayslake, Ill.

7. Paper Source
Industry: Retail
Sample job titles: Part-time customer service associate
Locations: Nationwide

8. Shoe Show
Industry: Retail
Sample job titles: Retail manager, retail sales associate, keyholder, store manager
Locations: Nationwide

9. Spencer Gifts
Industry: Retail
Sample job titles: Sales associate, store manager, assistant store manager
Locations: Nationwide