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Top 10 Job Strategies for Recent College Graduates

When the graduation celebrations have ended, many recent graduates must consider what they are going to do with their lives. When I started talking with my students and other graduates from other institutions, the clarity of what they were going to do after college life was murky at best. Surprisingly, the majority of the graduating seniors did not have any idea of what they were going to do.

Perhaps, it is generational because Millennials have a different outlook than Baby Boomers. In my last job strategy book, I along with my co-author, William Bailey, researched this problem and found a huge disconnect between what organizations desired from potential employees, and what today's job seekers expect of employers. This article explores 10 new job strategies for recent college graduates in how to increase their success in employment.

The Economic Landscape

The economic picture should give recent college graduates some hope. According to a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers, the top bachelor's degree, which would be in the highest demand, was business administration and management. Of the 169 surveyed employers, 86 stated they intended to hire graduates with this degree.

In another college employment study by CareerBuilder.com, 74% of employers planned to hire more recent college graduates this year (up from 67% from 2016). Half of these employers planned to offer recent college graduates higher pay than last year; 39% of these surveyed employers would start recent graduates with $50,000 or more (compared to 27% in 2017).

The most sought after majors for these employers were: Business (30%), Engineering (26%), Computer and Information Sciences (23%), Engineering (16%), Communications Technologies (13%), Mathematics/Statistics (11%), Construction Trades (11%), and Health Professionals/Related Clinical Sciences (10%). With this positive job outlook, college graduates cannot afford to relax because of the continual changes in the job market.

New Job Strategies

Recent college graduates must enhance their job strategies. In today's competitive environment, getting a job in one's major is not easy. In fact, more experienced and older workers are now competing for entry-level jobs.

Companies are more demanding due to the surplus of seasoned and young talent before them. According to the Economic Policy Institute, one in eight colleges graduating class of 2016 were under-employed. Underemployed relates to those individuals in the college-educated workforce that are doing jobs that don't require a college degree or not in their intended major.

With that said, those unemployed individuals would prefer to be working in their major full-time. In the Office of the New York City Comptroller's 2016, the study found that, by 2014, Millennials were making about 20 percent less in real terms than what older generations made during their first years in the labor force. Thus, recent graduates cannot afford to misunderstand the job market.

Peter Cappelli, the author of Why Good People Can't Get Jobs, notes that the impersonal nature of the current employment process: "Like a replacement part, job requirements have very precise specifications. Job candidates must fit them perfectly, or the job won't be filled, and the business can't operate."

In a surplus market with numerous potential candidates, employees can be picky. When a list of prospective applicants does not meet the requirements, many times, these positions are left unfilled. Sadly, most job seekers have not figured this reality out. Yet, loaded with the right attitude and good job strategies, recent graduates can ensure themselves of better success in this job market. The following are the 2017 job strategies for more employability:

1. Possess a good character that makes you an attractive person.
2. Connect your ideal job with your interest, skills/abilities, and value/belief system.
3. Build an effective personal brand, including an online personality connected to LinkedIn.com and critical online networks.
4. Pursue additional education and certifications (i.e. Google digital marketing certifications) that separate you from the competition.
5. Use daily positive self-affirmations about your skills and abilities to keep your energy level positive.
6. Build an incredible professional network for identifying job opportunities.
7. Learn how to seek out critical advice and mentorship, but develop the capacity to use it.
8. Develop a questioning attitude about life to promote problem solving.
9. Network with subject matter experts, industry leaders, and highly successful people to increase your job opportunities.
10. Target desired positions and apply periodically (daily, weekly, etc.) so that you are actively engaged in new employment.

Conclusion

In today's difficult economy, college graduates must be more assertive despite the positive forecast for employment. Getting a job isn't easy. This article demonstrated how recent college graduates can increase their chances of being hired with 10 new job strategies. In fact, many Millennials will face future employers that have a variety of job options to fill a job vacancy.

Individuals who understand the new mindset of current employers will have a better chance of successfully navigating the employment landmines. Yet, a savvy job seeker understands these employment changes and makes the necessary corrections to make his/her personal brand attractive to potential employers. If individuals want to be more effective in their job hunt for 2017, they can use these job strategies to navigate future career challenges.


Dr. Daryl D. Green researches issues on leadership, business, entrepreneurs, and careers. He provides consulting, guidance, and management training for today's business leaders. He is the Dickinson Chair at Oklahoma Baptist University. He has over 25 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and Associated Press. For more information, please visit Daryl Green Leadership.

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