Jobs Galore for New Grads -- Here's How to Get Them

New Grads The job drought is finally over for college grads -- a new forecast shows that it's finally raining, or at least sprinkling, jobs for those fresh out of college. Forty-six percent of employers say they plan to hire recent college graduates in 2011, according to a new CareerBuilder survey, and of those who plan to hire recent college grads, 26 percent report they will offer higher starting salaries than they did last year.

Most recent grads, however, should not expect to get rich quick. Thirty-one percent of employers plan to offer recent college graduates starting salaries ranging between $30,000 and $40,000. An additional 21 percent will offer between $40,000 and $50,000, and 24 percent will offer $50,000 or more. Twenty-four percent will offer less than $30,000. That's almost a quarter who will be offering slightly more than $2,000 per month.

"Employers are more optimistic overall, and as a result, are looking to bring in entry-level workers to build their work force for the future," said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America. "Companies are adding jobs in a variety of areas and need fresh, educated talent to fill those roles. Our survey found that they will recruit college grads primarily for IT, customer service, sales, finance, accounting and marketing jobs this year."

In addition to the specialized skills you learn in your major, employers will also be looking for overall skill sets, including:

  • Strong written and verbal communications – 69 percent
  • Technical skills – 57 percent
  • Project management – 44 percent
  • Research – 30 percent
  • Math – 31 percent
  • Knowledge of using mobile applications and technologies – 21 percent
  • Public speaking – 20 percent
  • Basic accounting skills – 21 percent
  • Adept at using social media – 16 percent
  • Bilingual – 15 percent

The survey also revealed that while work experience is one of the most influential factors in their decision to hire recent college graduates, employers reported that other activities qualify as relevant experience:

  • Internships – 68 percent
  • Part-time jobs in another area or field – 51 percent
  • Volunteer work – 41 percent
  • Class work – 34 percent
  • Involvement in school organizations – 33 percent
  • Involvement in managing activities for sororities and fraternities – 20 percent
  • Participation in sports – 12 percent

When asked to identify the biggest mistakes that recent college graduates made during the application and interview process, employers said coming to the interview with no knowledge of the company (58 percent), acting entitled (54 percent), dressing inappropriately (52 percent), not asking good questions during the interview (50 percent), not turning off their cell phone before the interview (44 percent) and acting bored (42 percent).

Rasmussen says recently graduated job seekers should do their homework about a company, stay upbeat and enthusiastic but not frivolous, consider taking a job outside their chosen field if it will help them gain experience, and utilize social media -- that's what everyone expects of younger workers.

Next:Top Companies Hiring

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