GW released thousands of college graduates into the world Sunday, and they may be in a better position to land jobs than in past years.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported in late April that hiring for the 2006 graduating class is up about 14 percent this year. The professional association annually surveys employers across the country.
This year, more than 60 percent of employers surveyed said they will hire more new college graduates than they hired last year, while about 25 percent reported plans to maintain hiring at last year’s levels. Also, nearly 90 percent of employers said that they are seeing increased competition for new college graduates, according to the survey.
“Since the economy has been improving, companies are experiencing growth and are opening up more positions,” NACE spokesperson Andrew Koncz said in an interview. “Also, many people are retiring.”
Service sector employers report the most aggressive hiring plans and estimate hiring about 16 percent more grads than last year. Manufacturers plan to hire about 11 percent more new graduates and government and non-profit employers plan to increase college hiring by about 9 percent, according to the survey results.
Tag Goulet, founder of the career Web site www.FabJob.com, attributed the projected increase in job openings for graduates to a good economic outlook and a retiring baby boomer generation.
“The job market is looking fabulous this year; one of the best. College grads will have really great opportunities. There are much higher percentages of employers wanting to hire college graduates compared to one and five years ago,” she said in an interview.
But despite more opportunities for graduates, Goulet said that those entering the working world shouldn’t expect to start out at the top. “You’ll still have to join the rat race for a few years.”
Michael Farr, president and CEO of JIST Publishing, Inc., and author of several career advice books – including one titled “200 Best Jobs for College Grads” – put less trust in statistics when considering how graduates are going to fare post-commencement.
“There is no thing as the job market. I believe that it’s relatively meaningless data … what matters is how active a job seeker is,” he said in an interview. “The only thing that really matters is your personal labor market … it all depends on the person itself, what their interests are and how much energy they put into it. You have to network and put yourself out there.”
While Goulet said that having a degree from GW “definitely adds to the appeal” of a candidate because it is a respected institution, Farr said that a person’s alma mater matters little when matched up against personal achievements.
He added, “Sure, it’s a good school, but still, it’s highly personal. Are you at the bottom of your class? The top? Do you have poor people skills? GW does have high standards of admission and retaining a student, and you should emphasize these standards when applying for a job.”
For those seniors still job-hunting, both Goulet and Farr offer similar advice – get some background on potential employers before interviewing or even applying.
“Do your homework, and learn as much from their Web site,” Goulet said. “And if you don’t have past paid experience, expect to start at the bottom.”
Farr added, “Know what you’re good at and what you find interesting, and be sure to look for the right industry. And do your homework before you go out to look.”