Employment Outlook for 2019 College Graduates

If you'll be a member of the Class of 2019, you're in luck when it comes to the job search. The outlook for 2019 college graduates is bright. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges, employers plan to hire 16.6 percent more new grads this year than they did in 2018. The organization notes this is the best hiring outlook for new grads since the Class of 2007.

college graduates

Employers want college grads

Thanks to an improved economy, many companies are more likely to invest in human resources. Combine this with a candidate-driven job market and talent gap, recent college grads can place themselves in a winning situation when it comes to landing employment after graduation.

  • Employers need immediate replacements for Baby Boomers—10,000 of them are reaching retirement age each day.
  • Organizations today need to heavily invest in succession planning and building talent pipelines.
  • Many organizations seek to convert interns to full-time hires—it's easy and more cost-efficient to onboard a familiar face who already knows how things work.

As an added bonus, because of the tight labor market, wages are also increasing. Due to supply and demand, 46 percent of employers are "struggling to fill open positions."

Hot industries for grads

Some industries are currently stronger than others when it comes to hiring people who hold a bachelor's degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), industries such as leisure and hospitality, transportation, and construction saw gains in January 2019. This seems to indicate these are potentially good fields to explore for employment. Other hot prospects to consider:

  • Engineers. Employers are looking for engineers of all specialties—civil, nuclear, industrial, electrical, and biomedical.
  • Operations research analysts. BLS predicts this occupation to grow a whopping 30 percent by 2024.
  • Healthcare. Five of the top 10 fastest growing occupations are related to healthcare. Tip: You don't have to be a medical professional to break into this industry, think creatively to see how your skills are appealing to healthcare employers.
  • Personal financial advisors. A rapidly growing field expected to continue to expand for at least another decade.
  • Translators and interpreters. We live in a global economy and with that comes a growing need to communicate.
  • Construction. As economic growth picks up, this once sluggish industry is building strong momentum.

Technology is another hot field where many positions in the industry just waiting for 2019 graduates. Top niches include cybersecurity, computer systems analysts, and software engineering, to name a few. A talent for building mobile apps is a good skill to have too.

Tips for entry-level job search

To land your first "adult" job, you'll quickly learn it's often not about what you know but who you know. With this in mind, you'll want to get proactive about networking.

  • Visit the career planning center at your school.
  • Attend job fairs and other career-related events.
  • Join alumni associations and industry organizations.

You'll also want to put effort into establishing a professional presence. Be sure to:

  • Craft an attractive and modernized resume.
  • Outline any unpaid work you did during college, including internships, volunteer positions, or other responsibilities you took on (i.e. a club president, treasurer, etc.) and be sure to add them to your resume because it shows existing work experience.
  • Write a basic cover letter that can easily be customized to the job you're applying—avoid sending out generic letters to employers.

An estimated 70 percent of employers check out candidates on social media, and 57 percent of them pass on a candidate due to content they've seen. Gen Z is the first true digital native generation, so chances are current college grads have at least some level of digital dirt. You don't want things you posted in your teen years to come back to haunt you, so be sure to clean up your online presence.

One last important tip: don’t get too caught up in what’s “hot” and base your decisions on this factor alone. Get yourself off on the right foot by finding a good organizational fit. This way, you'll better position yourself to be happy at what you do as you embark on this exciting journey.

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