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Positive Sign of the Times: Job Market For Recent College Graduates Shows Improvement

Meta J. Mereday

With the 216,000 jobs created by the U.S. economy in March and the unemployment rate less than nine percent according to the U.S. Department of Labor, there is a feeling that jobs for recent college graduates will not be as difficult to find this year as in 2010.

The results from a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that employers are making plans to hire almost 20 percent more recent graduates this year in comparison to 2010.

Over 170 schools were surveyed for the report from February through April. These figures support the many efforts to encourage hiring and to help the effort to strengthen the country’s economic recovery.

As the next generation of America’s workforce prepares to toss their caps in the air, what will the job market look like for college graduates?

According to, government economists estimate that the occupations that will have the most openings between 2008 and 2018 for individuals with college degrees include: teachers (both elementary and secondary schools), computer systems analysts, computer software engineers, accountants, auditors, construction managers and market research analysts.

These estimates are based on job creation due to retirement or workers leaving for other reasons or careers.

Those who work with students and help direct jobs for recent college graduates remember the dismal numbers last year and reflect on the trends for jobs for college graduates now.

“I am actually shocked to report that all of my students got internships or jobs and the others are off to law school or grad school. The anxiety felt last year was not as present and the recruiters are coming back to campus,” stated Guy Madison, consultant, Morehouse College Entrepreneurship Center. “Opportunities with the big banking firms were a little lighter than in the past, but overall more jobs were being offered.”

With better prospects comes more competition as the job market contains a wide range of potential employees who are vying for jobs along with recent college graduates.

An industry that is not usually on the top 10 career lists but has promise as a market for jobs for college graduates is journalism.

Broadcasting, in particular is always looking for young, diverse talent.

“From an employment, training and access standpoint, sports is still one of the areas that is accessible for young people trying to break into the broadcast business,” noted Ademah Hacksaw, CEO of Hacksaw Communications. “There are all kinds of sports work in the marketplace and if one has an interest in sports, I would strongly encourage them to pursue it. Having worked in television sports in Atlanta for a few years before I broke into news, it's a great learning place and if someone has vision and drive, they can end up writing and producing packages to be rolled into the show.”

Whether the career aspirations for recent graduates include the “hot button” industries such as education or computers to the “high profile” industries such as journalism or finance, it is important for college graduates to be current in their search strategies.

“College graduates looking for jobs need to be well versed in all forms of outreach,” added Madison, who has been instrumental in coordinating conferences to help attract jobs for recent college graduates.

“As companies are beginning to need to find talent, we (are) helping them to incorporate innovative ways outside of career fairs to attract students and this has included social networking. We encourage students to be current and maintain a professional approach when searching for jobs on Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn for our professionals is a must.”

Jobs for recent college graduates are on the rise and providing opportunities for the future business and community leaders shows promising signs for the country’s economic future.

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