The Finance Majors Already Have Jobs, but the Hiring Outlook Is Still Great for Other Grads

How’s the hiring outlook for college graduates this year? No worries for you. A great internship last summer led to an early job offer. You can kick back for the rest of the semester, knowing you’re set.

college graduation

Wait. You’re Not?

There’s still no cause for worry. The Class of 2018 is leaving campus at a particularly fortunate time.

Michigan State University reports that businesses expect to recruit 15 percent more people with bachelor’s degrees this year compared to last. For those of us who weren’t math majors, that’s 74,000 available jobs.

And though some organizations, typically those with in-house training programs in fields such as banking, accounting, and consulting, started making offers as early as November, for graduates in other fields there’s still ample opportunity.

Just because you started late, though, doesn’t mean you can’t start smart. Begin devoting time now—on a daily basis—to your search. Here are some key steps.

Refine Your Resume

Take time to craft your resume so it reflects what employers need. For many companies, that’s soft skills, according to the Michigan State survey.  Give yourself a leg up by highlighting areas such as communication, leadership, and collaboration. Play up critical thinking and digital fluency, too.

Grads without significant professional experience should look to extracurriculars or hobbies for a chance to talk about soft skills. You might not have run a multimedia marketing campaign, but polishing your personal digital brand shows capabilities that scale to the world of work.

Even non-professional positions offer opportunities to tout soft skills. Just ask anyone who’s ever waited tables or worked retail about the importance of communications.

Where to Look for Jobs

Be sure to contact your campus recruiting office first. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the overwhelming majority of employers still reach out to colleges.

If you’re interested in working in a particular area of the country, keep tabs on jobs sites specific to that region. For those looking in the nation’s capital of Washington, D.C., Washington Post Jobs would be a great place to start! Most will allow you to set alerts that automatically notify you of openings. Be sure to post a resume on the site as well.

LinkedIn is another great source of leads, particularly if you’ve worked hard to create a great profile. You can receive notifications of openings in a specific area, at companies where your connections work or where fellow alumni are employed.

Don’t forget the equivalent of the cold call. Even if a business doesn’t have openings advertised, go ahead and send a resume and a cover letter asking when they might be interviewing for entry-level positions. Be sure and follow up as the date approaches.

If you already have a connection at a company you’re interested in, keep working it. Unexpected vacancies can crop up at any time.

Also consider applying for short-term internships or offering yourself up as a fill-in during an employee’s family leave. It’s a little risky, in that your ideal position could open up while you’re already committed. But there’s also the potential advantage of sneaking your foot in the door. At the least, you’ll make new connections.

When to Look for Jobs

Some times of the year are definitely busier than others when it comes to hiring. Historic data indicates that even June isn’t too late to start looking, but hiring will drop in July and August as decision-makers head off on vacation. Openings typically increase again in late summer before falling off around Thanksgiving.

Traditionally, the first quarter has been slow, as businesses conserve spending during the start of the new budget year. There’s some indication of a shift, though. LinkedIn reported that January 2018 was the strongest hiring month it had seen since the previous May.

Chances are, you won’t need to be concerned about whether that trend holds in the first quarter of 2019. Another report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 82 percent of college graduates find jobs or opt for grad school within six months.

How Long Does the Hiring Process Take?

The good news is, according to one study, the average job search takes about six weeks. That can seem like forever when you’re facing the uncertainty of post-graduate unemployment. Looking at it as less than half a semester might help you gain some perspective.

In the meantime, keep busy. Do volunteer work that offers opportunities to fill skills gaps. Approach local companies about job shadowing opportunities. Prospective employers will appreciate that you didn’t just while away your time lazing by the pool.

Overall, the hiring outlook for college graduates is great this year. Don’t be overly concerned if you haven’t found a job yet. There’s still time.

Grads, Are You Ready to start your DC Job Search? Search all open opportunities here.


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