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Job Market Improves for Recent College Grads

by Kimberly Rios '13

In between hours of studying, writing papers, and pulling all-nighters to finish group projects, students can easily lose track of how quickly time flies during college. Before they know it, graduation has come and gone and the next step is to put their education to good use in the form of a career. In the past few years, however, economic conditions in the country have left students worried about the availability of the jobs. Yet, a recent study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) predicts that more college graduates are expected to be hired this year than in recent years.

The improvement of the job market came as no surprise to NACE, which initially predicted that the Class of 2011 would see an increase in hiring by 13.5 percent. Yet, the most recent information provided revealed a 19.3 percent boost from 2010. It’s estimated that 23,805 graduates will be employed this year, whereas last year only an estimated 19,953 graduates were employed. The reason for this increase is not a result of fewer people applying for the same job, since the survey also shows that the number of job applicants rose by 45 percent since last year. It is a result of the fact that the number of open positions within companies has nearly tripled.

As attendants of Azusa Pacific University, many students’ primary goal is to obtain an quality education that will help them secure a job in their field of study upon graduation. Faculty, staff, and administrators desire to see all students leave the university with the knowledge and resources they will need to be successful. NACE’s new research provides some hope for APU and recent graduates, as well as future graduates.

Lynn Pearson, director of APU’s Office of Career Services, is glad to see that job prospects for the university’s new graduates appear to be looking up. “It can be difficult to project, but from what we've seen, I would say the job market has improved this year,” Pearson said. “In particular, accounting majors and business majors are doing better, and also computer science and engineering.”

Still, a job is not guaranteed and students must make sure to prepare themselves for the competition that lies ahead. Pearson shared, “It’s still pretty significant competition. We’re hearing that there are sometimes 300 applicants for one position.”

Current APU students should focus on taking classes that will give them knowledge they will need in the future. One key suggestion given to students is that they should take every opportunity they can to improve their résumé, especially when it comes to internships. With hard work, students can achieve their goals, especially in a job market that is improving, but still competitive.