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Careers For Recent College Grads

It is the season when thousands of students march to the stage to receive their AA, BA or MA degrees from colleges and universities across the country. It’s a happy time for all, especially for parents who proudly witnessed their children receive that coveted diploma that only 40% of the citizens of the USA possess. But along with that diploma, 68% of recent college grads received an invoice for a student loan averaging $37,000, an unwelcome burden not only for the graduates but also for their parents. So now that our recent college grads have a diploma and a student loan to repay, what’s next?


What’s Next!

The good news is that this is the best time in the past ten years for college grads entering the job market. Our economy is virtually at full employment and employers are looking high and low for additional workers to maintain and grow their businesses. A recent survey by Career Builder reveals that 74 percent of employers contacted stated that they plan to hire recent college grads. And, a recent Forbes survey indicated that the starting salary range for recent college grads is $45,000-$53,000. Good times are here again….for those college grads who know what kind of work they want to do and how to find job opportunities that will provide a paycheck to enable them to become self-sufficient.

Some of our recent college grads have decided on a career path that will take them to graduate school or to a specific job niche in the private or public sector. However, most others do not have a clue about what happens after the applause, handshakes, and the trip back home to live with Mom and Dad. The conventional, but erroneous, wisdom says that the way to a job after graduation is to sit down and write a “killer” resume and send it to multiple jobs boards. Then, like magic, a job will appear that pays well and provides satisfaction for the rest of your working years. That is just not the way it works.

To make that job appear sooner rather than later, the recent college grad must look at job hunting as a process that includes: learning ones aptitude and abilities; targeting a specific job in a specific company; developing a personal relationship with the hiring manager and human resources director; preparing a creditable resume; learning the basic rules and protocols for interviewing; attending conferences and trade shows at local convention centers; learning how to network with established workers; making cold calls on companies located in office and industrial centers; learning how to negotiate a job offer; and finally establishing an office at home to make it all happen. Each step in the process is a learned skill for all workers but especially for the recent college grad entering the adult world of full time work. Sadly these skills are not taught in colleges which sends the learning process back in the lap of the recent college grads and their parents who still have the primary responsibility for educating their children, college degree notwithstanding.  All steps of the process are important but at the top of the list is leaving the house to find hiring managers in the flesh. You do that by making unscheduled calls at company offices and attending conferences and trade shows.

Learning what kinds of jobs are available is an important start in the job hunting process. According to recent surveys here are the best industry sectors for 2017 college grads.

  • Business and scientific services
  • Educational Services
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare
  • Government

Functionally, the job categories most in demand are:

  • Information technology
  • Customer service
  • Business development
  • Finance/accounting
  • Production

So where does a recent college grad begin to look for a job?  It’s more than just throwing darts at a board and hoping one will stick. Finding companies that offer cutting edge products and services is a good way to start. But, who are these companies?  To get you moving in the right direction, here are twenty companies recommended in The Muse Newsletter, www.themuse.com.

  1. Caesars Entertainment…casino gaming resorts in the USA and abroad
  2. World First…financial services focusing on cross country payments
  3. Polaris…. consulting and compliance services for healthcare and life sciences
  4. Taboola…helping publishers monetize their content
  5. Good Apple Digital…digital planning media services
  6. Bonobos…contemporary custom made men’s clothing
  7. CreditCards.com…partners with banks to provide credit cards for consumers
  8. Synapse…developer of transformative digital products
  9. BackCountry.com…online supplier of high quality outdoor gear worldwide
  10. Redfin…real estate brokerage services for buyers and sellers
  11. Vanguard….worldwide financial investment services
  12. Revcontent…delivers content recommendations using widget technology
  13. 540…provides cutting-edge technology solutions for government agencies
  14. Black Mountain Systems… IT workflow management for financial companies
  15. Hirevue…provides solutions to recruit, train and retain workers
  16. Bridgestone Americas…global supplier of products for manufacturing and mining
  17. Fluxx…digital grant management for philanthropy initiatives
  18. PrintFleet…provides data driven remote print management solutions
  19. Agile…information technology staffing, recruiting and personnel management
  20. Tillster…provides software to manage mobile payments to restaurants

These companies are noted for their employee friendly culture and for providing a work environment where workers will find life/work balance…..and a little fun. Their web pages provide images of their recent college grad workers and the company work environment.  Go to the Internet and research each company for job opportunities in your location.

For those not interested in private sector corporate jobs here are two viable alternatives.

  1. Joining the military…..Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard. This is an option rarely considered by recent college grads because of a general misunderstanding about what happens in the military. The most common misperception is that joining the military means that you will be deployed immediately to fight in the trenches in some god forsaken place like Afghanistan. The reality is that for each active combat job, there are hundreds of jobs behind the scenes similar to jobs in the civilian world. The big plus for spending time in the military is that one learns lifelong leadership skills, discipline and focus. And, what could be a better way to begin your working life than to serve our country, to give back for all the blessings we have inherited for being born in America? In addition, serving in the military provides substantial benefits to all veterans, like tuition reimbursement to continue ones education, lifelong healthcare and a pension.
  2. Pursuing a federal government job. The federal government, the nation’s largest employer with over 2.5 million employees, offers interesting jobs that pay as much as or more than comparable jobs in the private sector. The majority of federal government jobs are not political jobs and most are located away from Washington DC. The focus of these jobs could be anything from law enforcement, environmental conservation to finance to cybersecurity… and everything in between. In addition, there is a federal government program titled, The Recent Graduates Program. Explore the many federal jobs that are available stateside and overseas.

To begin the process of finding a job straight out of college we recommend that all recent grads and their parents read the following books:

WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD; A Complete Guide to Job Hunting for the Recent College Grad. John Henry Weiss.  Skyhorse Publishing Inc. This book is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, B&N and the publisher.

The Book of U.S. Government Jobs. Dennis Damp. Bookhaven Press. This book is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, B&N and the publisher

Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor. Jist Publishing Company. This book is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, B&N and the publisher.

Moving Forward

There has never been a better time for recent college grads to look for a job because employers are seeking additional workers as our economy expands. Those who take the time to learn how the adult world of work really works and who follow the rules in this article and in the above cited books should have no trouble connecting with employers seeking intelligent, energetic and passionate recent college grads.

Copyright 2017 by John Henry Weiss Author of WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD.

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

About The Author

John Henry Weiss is the author of OPERATION JOB SEARCH, A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers. He is the founder and owner of Weiss & Associates, a nationwide executive search firm targeting the education and communication industries. His recruiting activities focus on securing candidates, both veterans and non-veterans, for positions in sales, marketing, finance, and technology. John began his career as a teacher in Chicago after graduating from De Paul University with degrees in Sociology, Education and English. Subsequent work experience included corporate positions in sales, marketing, product development and editorial with major education and technology companies such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Apple Computer.