Experts advise students to seek out recruiters and job opportunities through networking
As the economy slowly continues to improve since its bottom fell out in 2008, college graduates are being forced to learn new ways to find—and apply for—available positions in a limited market.
“Seventy to 75 percent of jobs are in the ‘hidden job market,’ which are jobs that are obtained through word of mouth, referrals and other similar things,” said Roger Young, director of career services at Southwestern University in Georgetown. “We have to teach students how to get into the job market now more than ever.”
Students entering the workforce in 2010 have a slight advantage over 2009’s graduates. According to the Job Outlook 2010 Fall Preview report released in April by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, companies project a 5.3 percent increase in college hiring this year. The same NACE study conducted in fall 2008 projected a 22 percent decrease in college hiring due to the slumping economy.
Stressed budgets at companies across the country have placed a strain on recruitment efforts. Fewer businesses can afford sending recruiters to colleges and career fairs. Instead, they are shifting toward inexpensive approaches. NACE reported that, in 2010, out of 219 employers surveyed for the report:
28 percent plan to attend fewer career fairs,
24 percent plan to incorporate more social networking into recruiting efforts,
20 percent plan to focus more attention on local hires and
19 percent plan to make more contact with student organizations and faculty.
Young said this trend is reflected in the decrease of job opening advertisements placed on traditional job search websites, such as Yahoo’s Hot Jobs and CareerBuilder.com.
“You can still go to the big job boards or the newspaper, but you’re not going to see nearly as many jobs,” he said. “Only about 25 percent of jobs are available that way.”
The trend is forcing soon-to-be graduates not only to re-evaluate how they apply for a job, but also how they prepare themselves to win the right position. With fewer recruiters on the prowl, graduates need to be more aggressive in pursuing leads and landing work.
“It’s a new game, to a certain degree,” Young said.
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