Congratulations, grad. You’ve earned your degree, and it was during one of the most challenging time periods ever. Still, you’ve emerged triumphant, and not all for naught – skills like adaptability, agility and resilience that today’s workplace demands are now part of your pedigree. Employers need you.
“College graduates should be proud. They just completed college under unprecedented, difficult circumstances, ”said Angela Copeland, senior vice president of marketing at Recruiter.com and author of career book Breaking the Rules & Getting the Job: A Practical Guide to Getting a Great Job in a Down Market ”(CreateSpace).
Plus, you’re entering the best job market in generations. Opportunities abound in almost every field and are open to you almost regardless of your major. There are more than 33% more jobs available for the class of 2022 than there were for the class of 2021, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and “overall hiring continues to surge,” said Mary Gatta, NACE’s director of research and public policy.
You do not have to tell that to 21-year-old Lindsey Knutzen. She cut her job search short when she got an offer from her dream company, DailyPay in the Financial District. “I believe in their mission, which is to create a financial system that works for everyone,” said the Bucknell University graduate. The Allendale, NJ, resident was hired as a marketing associate even before she graduated.
What stood out about Knutzen? “Her ability to give a three-minute elevator pitch about herself and why she is interested in working at DailyPay,” said Crystal Park, senior manager of marketing PMO and operations at the company. “Lindsey did her research and asked questions about our technology and our values and related it back to why she is a good fit for the position.”
Employers across the board are eager to hire. The average time from interview to offer acceptance is approximately 40 days, according to a new report from NACE.
Knutzen plans to start her post-grad life working from home around two days per week and commuting to the city the other three. She looks forward to spending time with colleagues at DailyPay’s headquarters. “It’s a collaborative, inclusive environment where everyone is excited about making an impact,” said Knutzen. The size of her paycheck pleases her, too – she was able to improve on what she calls an “already good offer” with a little negotiation.
In fact, employers are projecting to pay more this year than in years before “for the most part,” said Gatta. And new grads should not fear negotiating. “I hope they do, at least a little,” said Angie Wesley, head of talent acquisition at TIAA, a provider of secure retirements and outcome-focused investment solutions.
She said that the way a job-seeker goes about negotiating tells managers something about their employee-to-be. It’s worth noting that Wesley has never seen an offer withdrawn because a job-seeker seemed greedy and was asking for too much. Instead, “If their expectations are not realistic, we would try to understand their reasoning and provide some education and coaching if needed,” said Wesley.
“This is the most competitive landscape [for employers looking to hire great talent] I’ve ever seen, ”she said.
Still, getting a great job requires some work. Here’s some useful information and advice from experts to help you along the way.
Lean on your alma mater
Do not take the whole summer off if you have not landed a job. “My team is actively talking to the class of 2022,” said Wesley.
Instead, “connect with your school’s career services office and ask for help,” said Gatta, explaining that their interest in getting you into the world of work did not wane when you picked up your diploma.
Highlight extracurricular activities
“You should feel free to include anything you’re passionate about or that shows parts of your personality beyond what information recruiters will get from your job experience,” said Blair Heitmann, career expert at LinkedIn.
Turn on the “open to work” feature to let recruiters, and your online network, know that you’re job searching, said Heitmann. People using this are more likely to get messages from hirers. And since we know that you’re four times more likely to get hired through your network, take time to see if you’re connected to anyone who might be able to make an introduction or get your application to the top of the pile at a company you’re interested in. ”
Use the job alerts option to be first in line to apply for a job. “You’re actually four times more likely to hear back about a position if you apply in the first 10 minutes, so acting fast can give you a big advantage,” said Heitmann.
Network, network, network
Sergei Revzin, founder of School16, an online education company founded to help make technology jobs more accessible to anyone, regardless of background or experience, said this is key.
“But do not ask people you do not know to speak up for you. Instead ask them for advice so that you can learn from their experience, ”he said.
A side benefit of doing this might be a referral into their company or another employer.
Find a mentor
“Reach out to people one, two or three years out of college that you admire,” said Revzin, explaining that they will be flattered, can relate to you and will be eager to help.
Look through “early talent” sections of corporate websites, or Google the name of company you want to work at plus “early careers.”
Show up to interviews well prepared
“Know who we are, our history and our mission,” said Wesley. “Bring your questions.”
It’s worth noting that while it’s fine to ask about benefits and whether the job is in the office, work-from-home, or hybrid, if that information is on the website, it could suggest that you did not look.
Think through your college experiences
This will help you be ready to answer interview questions – like how you prioritized your schoolwork when you had multiple deadlines to meet.
“Can you discuss a time you had to manage a difficult situation?” said Park. “Tell me about a time you were asked to do something you have not done before. What did you learn? How did you handle it? ”