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College grads shouldn't have as hard of a time finding a job as recent grads have in the past few years.
A new study by CareerBuilder and CareerRookie revealed the class of 2013 will enter a stronger job market than recent grads have in years past, as more than half of U.S. employers are planning to hire recent college graduates this year, up from 44 percent in 2010.
Despite the improvement, the market for new grads still has a way to go to reach prerecession levels, said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America.
"New college graduates are facing a better employment situation this year, but the number of employers planning to recruit them are still trailing prerecession estimates by more than 20 percentage points," Rasmussen said.
The research shows that employers in industries that generally demand more highly skilled workers are also more likely to recruit recent college graduates. Information technology and financial services employers are the most likely to recruit recent college grads; more than 60 percent of hiring managers and human-resources professionals in those industries are planning to hire recent graduates. Additionally, employers in IT and financial services are the most likely to recruit workers for hard-to-fill jobs prior to graduation.
"The market remains highly competitive," Rasmussen said. "Those graduating with niche or technical skill sets will be in a better position to find more opportunities in higher-paying jobs."
A graduate's alma mater may also give some candidates a leg up in their job search. Nearly one-quarter of the hiring managers surveyed said they are more likely to hire a recent graduate who attended a prestigious school, while 20 percent said they are more likely to hire someone who is a fellow alum.
Of the employers that plan to hire recent college graduates, 27 percent expect to offer higher starting salaries than they did in 2012, with nearly half reporting that starting salaries will range between $30,000 and $49,999, the study also found.
CareerRookie offers several tips for recent college grads preparing to hit the job market in the coming the weeks:
- Highlight relevant nonwork experience: Most employers agree thatinternships are the most common form of relevant experience. However, many also consider volunteer work; involvement in school organizations; relevant class work, such as research projects or term papers; and fraternity or sorority leadership as relevant experience. If targeted to the requirements on the job listing, such information can make a difference.
- Do homework on the company: The most common reasons employers turn down recent college graduates all have to do with candidates' lack of preparedness or disinterest in the company, such as not knowing anything about the business, appearing bored or not asking questions during an interview.
- Network early and often: More than one-quarter of employers recruit candidates for hard-to-fill jobs before graduation. Expected graduates can get a leg up on their peers by attending campus career fairs, preparing resumes early, following company career pages on social media or joining a college talent network.
The study was based on surveys of more than 2,000 hiring managers and human-resources professionals across a range of industries and company sizes.