Just three years ago, the job outlook was virtually nonexistent. There just weren’t any jobs – let alone jobs for college graduates.
Now, according to a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), companies are expecting to hire nearly 20% more college grads than they did last year. The survey also revealed that the average starting salary will be $50,462.
Given those numbers though, competition for jobs this year will still be pretty stiff. Here’s our best advice for college grads who want to stand out from other applicants:
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This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many students create a resume in a half hour. A resume is more than just listing your past and present work, education and extracurricular experience. It’s a chance to showcase your attention to detail and language usage as well as the fact that you spent time researching and learning from resume building best practices.
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It cannot be stressed enough that this is something that should take several hours and multiple drafts.
Check out our advice on first-time resume concerns
and the importance of resume word choice
Prepare for the Interview
The interview is undoubtedly the most terrifying experience within the job search process. You can plan for everything you want to say beforehand, but you never know what the interviewer could say or ask to put you on the spot.
The best thing you can do to prepare for an interview is head to the career center in campus or something similar in your community. These centers conduct mock interviews and follow-up with feedback on what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong and how you can improve.
See more interview tips like interview advice exclusively for new grads
and memorable questions to ask the interviewer
During your job search, you want to portray the best version of you, and that means going the extra mile to make sure your resume, handshake and interview outfit are high-quality. Forget seeming superficial – it’s about being professional.
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Here are ways to improve upon your product, i.e. you:
- Print your resume on heavy resume paper – you can buy this at Office Depot or Staples.
- Invest in a suit. Men should look at Men’s Warehouse or Target, if you need a lower cost option. Women can find feminine cut suits at Express or Ann Taylor.
- Give a good, solid handshake. Seriously -- your Dad was right about that.
- Be on your best behavior – sit up straight, say “please” and “thank you,” and don’t forget to smile.
- Be engaged in the interview. Bring a notebook and take notes. Look the interviewer in the eye. Nod your head when you agree or understand.
- Follow up the interview with a thank you note or email. While a thank you email is sufficient in this day in age, a handwritten note is best.