The nationwide job outlook for college graduates is improving as the 2004-05 academic year progresses, according to survey results released earlier this month by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Employment prospects also seem to be improving on campus, where employers are searching for job candidates more actively this year, according to the University’s Career Center.

Study results released in September show that in August of last year, employers across the nation were expecting to hire more college graduates during this school year than they did during the previous one.

Results released earlier this month found that as the current academic year progresses, many employers expect to hire more graduates this school year than they had intended, indicating that the improvement of the job market has surpassed previous expectations.

The recent study, performed in December, found that out of the pool of 199 companies that were surveyed, more than 60 percent of the employers expected to hire as many graduates as they anticipated in the beginning of the year, while 25 percent expected to hire even more graduates than they had previously expected.

“These results are another indication that the job market for new college graduates is gaining momentum,” NACE executive director Marilyn Mackes said in a press release.

The improved job outlook is also evident at the University, said Terri LaMarco, associate director of the University’s Career Center.

“There is an increase in employers’ participation in all our events including the job fair, (Tuesday’s) internship fair and (yesterday’s) multi-cultural internship fair,” she said.

While the job outlook has improved, according to NACE’s latest results, approximately 87 percent of employers still do not anticipate offering perks to college graduates.

“In general, employers tell us they expect more competition for new college graduates, but not enough to warrant more perks,” Mackes said.

“We do expect to see some increase in starting salaries, but overall, employers have said those increases will be modest,” she added.

While the job market has improved, employers are not offering the exorbitant signing bonuses to graduates that they were a few years ago, though salaries seem pretty consistent with previous years, LaMarco said.

“Students understand the current market and the need to remain active and engaged, which is good. We aren’t seeing any panic,” she said.

LaMarco added that because the job search continues throughout the school year, it is in its early stages. Still, most students already have their job search underway, she said.

While some are just beginning their job search, many students have already secured employment, such as LSA senior Karishma Bhargava who accepted a job offer with the Target Corporation.

Bhargava began her job search in September and had five job offers by November.

“As long as you’re really aggressive, the job market works in your advantage,” Bhargava said, “There are a lot of jobs out there. It’s your fault if you haven’t found one yet. I truly believe that.”

Bhargava said the key to the job search is to start early and find a counselor at the Career Center for advice.

“The biggest thing is to think outside the box. A lot of LSA students feel restricted from going to presentations,” she said, “For the positions I was offered, I was competing with kids in the B-School.”

While she searched for a job, Bhargava met with a counselor every Thursday to look over her resumes and cover letters. She credits her counselor with helping her get an edge over fellow students searching for a job.



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