You’re graduating college: Time to find your first job

Entry level jobs for college graduates may be at a premium. We’re seeing a slow economic recovery from the 2009 recession, but there is still a lot of competition for the best jobs. Without years of experience, this year’s flock of college graduates will have to be focused and agile in their job search strategy. Here are few ideas on how you can be successful in finding your first job after graduation.

It's vital to take it slow during the application process of finding your first job out of college.

It’s vital to take it slow during the application process of finding your first job out of college.

Rules to get hired

Take the skills that you honed writing research papers and use them to find and apply for your first job. A good place to start is at Questia. You’ll have access to millions of full-text books and articles from newspapers and magazines that are chock full of information to help you in your job search.

One example is the 2012 book, “Cracking the New Job Market: The 7 Rules for Getting Hired in Any Economy,” by R. William Holland. In the book, Holland discussed the current state of the economy and how it affects the job search. (We’re two years farther away from the 2009 recession and into economic recovery now, but Holland’s points remain relevant.)

Holland stated that if you’re having a problem finding your first job, don’t blame yourself. There are a number of factors that make getting a job more challenging than in previous years. According to Holland, “Today’s job market has been mightily affected by globalization, changes in technology, and the deregulation of various commercial sectors in the United States and elsewhere.”

In the book Holland proposed new rules for securing your next job. He addressed the roles that parents need to play in helping their children to be career-ready, the challenges faced by women and how to deal with the inevitable periods when you are between jobs.

Be patient when searching for your first job

You may have heard about people with doctorates who end up driving a cab, or those with degrees who settle for flipping burgers. Starting at the bottom and working your way up is one thing, but recent college graduates may have to accept less than they’d hoped for just to get a start.

As Amy Scott found, where you start in your career can have an impact on your finances for years to come. In her March 24, 2014, article for the New York Times, “A Degree in Hand, but a Slow Start Up the Career Ladder,” Scott explained how a slow start in earnings and savings can affect your retirement funds.

Because of the obligation to pay off student loans, many grads delay buying a home and saving for retirement. Those who wait until their 30s to start saving for retirement end up with significantly less money in their retirement plan.

Still, those who earned a college degree are doing better than those who didn’t.

According to Scott, “College does eventually help most people get jobs and keep them. At its worst, unemployment for recent graduates reached about 7 percent in 2011, compared with the peak of almost 16 percent for young workers without degrees, reached in 2010.”

In search of higher salaries

A recap of salaries paid to recent college graduates was compiled in the January 10, 2014, article for Forbes.comThe College Degrees With The Highest Starting Salaries” by Susan Adams.

According to Adams, starting salaries averaged $45,000 for the class of 2013’s entry level jobs; 2.6 percent higher than they were for the grads of 2012.  The highest salaries went to those with degrees in engineering while the lowest were paid to those in humanities and social sciences.

Computer science majors received the second-highest salaries, followed by business majors. The data was gathered by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), a non-profit group that links college placement offices with employers. “While the starting salary news is good for most grads who have found jobs, the overall employment picture is tough. … In 2013, only 29.3% had landed jobs prior to graduation,” Adams reported.

As for job offers, the higher percentage of offers went to computer science majors (69 percent) while only 40 percent of history majors and 33 percent of English majors received job offers.

Read more about economics and business topics on Questia.

How do you think you can score the best first job after graduation? Tell us in the comments.

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