College graduates had been on a good run during 2006, when they hit the streets for their first jobs. However, a February report from the Labor Department may mean that the brakes have been applied to a fast-moving market.
During 2006, employers added an average of 187,000 jobs per month, which corresponded with the lowest unemployment rate since 2001. The February numbers showed that 2007 may not be as bright as once thought. The Labor Department showed the U.S. economy created the fewest jobs in two years, even as the unemployment rate fell to 4.5%. Nonfarm payrolls increased by just 97,000, the lowest since January 2005.
Many economists believe the trend of slower corporate profit growth has produced a cautious environment directly related to overall economic weakness and, in turn, a slow down in hiring.
Just last year, the graduating class of 2006 entered a strong market where 72 percent of employers planned to hire graduates, compared to 64 percent in the previous year.
Whether there’s a weak jobs forecast or not, graduates in the crop of 2007 still face the same challenges and formulas for jump-starting their careers. The first place to start for any entry-leveler is a polished resume.
The job may be listed as entry-level, but most require experience and education that’s relative to the requirements. All relevant material should be included, like volunteer work, internships and interests, in order to make the employer aware that you’re familiar with the work. For example, if you’re applying for a job in public relations and you volunteered for three months working on a political campaign, then it’s relative material for a resume. If you flipped burgers for six months at McDonald’s, it likely won’t have much weight as PR rep, unless you’re making lunch.
The format of any resume nowadays is just as important as the writing. High quality paper resumes are still in demand, but electronic versions, whether HTML, Flash or on your own Web link are all necessary in today’s high-tech environment. There are hundreds of job boards, but Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com cover the widest range of listings across the country, so these sites are the best place to start.
If where to start, and what to do are still up in the air as graduation approaches, there are plenty of occupations that are hot now and will be in the future, including IT. Tech jobs in the U.S. for entry-level workers are in high demand, even though it may seem a lot of the work is outsourced. Grads that are tech-savvy and have some background to prove it are being coveted by companies with jobs in developing, business systems analysis, and technical support. Other job markets expected to be flush with opportunity in the future include retail sales, healthcare and teaching.