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Next Steps: Employment Landscape for 2011 Grads

As the last of college graduations begin to come to a close, recent reports from the National Association of Colleges and Employers indicate that recent or soon-to-be graduates should have a positive outlook on their next move as they enter the workforce.

An article published by US News earlier this month, states that job growth for this demographic is stronger this year than last in nearly every industry sector.

The percentages of organizations that intend to hire from the class of 2011 grew from less than 50% to 53% with starting salaries up 3.5%, compared to last year.

“There is clearly a growing sense of optimism in the market over the past 18 months,” says Keith Middleton, partner at Fahrenheit Finance.

“We have experienced a steady increase in our project and consulting practice as well as our search and staffing practice. Companies are once again filling the roles cut during the downturn, just not at the level headcount they once were. We are finally also seeing the higher level executive employment market rebound.”

And it’s not just businesses reporting higher employment-based initiatives.

Colleges and universities witnessed boosts in recruiting, hiring and especially attendance from both employers and students at job fairs. The report indicates that the University’s of Michigan and Virginia saw a 47% and 14% increase respectfully, in participation at the school’s recruiting fairs.

“Although this year’s graduating class finds themselves facing better employment market conditions than last year, it is still a very competitive job market,” says Rich Reinecke, partner at Fahrenheit Finance. “Those students who perform with not only the highest GPA’s, but also sacrifice summers and spring breaks while working internships to gain real world work experience in their field of study, will get the best opportunities.”

Besides remaining competitive and proactive in their job search, recent grads should also remember to keep an open mind and practice flexibility when looking at partnering their unique skill set to a job or industry that may not be their ideal choice.

“Knowing how competitive the market is, the new graduating class is going to have to be more aggressive and polished as they look to land their first role in their career,” says Reinecke. “I encourage them get a head start on building a professional network of peers that will help them not only land a position, but be successful once they are there.”