Career outlook good for grads

College graduates can expect an easier time finding employment after graduation, according to a new survey released this month by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The survey found that employers expect to hire 13.1 percent more college graduates during the 2004-05 academic year compared to 2003-04. Twenty-five percent of employers surveyed said they have revised their hiring projections upward, compared with only 10.4 percent that have amended downward..

The survey questioned 199 colleges, of which 99 responded.

This is the second year in a row employment prospects have improved for new college graduates, reversing a downward trend, said Andrea Koncz, the survey’s coordinator.

“We have been doing this study every year since 1999,” she said. “And last year was the first year that employers predicted an increase. This year is even better.”

Although they aren’t growing at the same pace, all industries are reporting growth, Koncz said.

“Accounting is most in-demand, and after that, it is the engineering fields – mechanical, electrical, chemical and also the computer industries,” she said.

Though the technical fields are reporting the most growth, the one trait all employers said they would like all students to develop is decidedly low-tech, Koncz said.

“We ask in general what employers like to see in their candidates, and number one is communication skills,” she said. “(Students) need to be able to write and speak well. They need to be able to interview well and write a good resume.”

Paul Timmins, the coordinator of the Career and Community Learning Center, also reports unprecedented attention from employers regarding the University’s upcoming job and internship fair.

“What we’ve seen this year has been more interest from employers than we have seen for the five years I’ve been here,” he said.

Students can use the University’s career centers to gain job-hunting skills. Each of the University’s colleges has its own career center, geared toward improving students’ resumes and interview skills, as well as connecting students with employers for internships and jobs.

Erin Meulners, a biochemistry senior, said she doesn’t use the career center because she doesn’t think it is very helpful.

“I’ve been looking around for what I would like to do,” she said. “But I haven’t had any interviews.”

Timmins said he sees “several thousand” students every year but desperately wants more to visit and use his services.

“I always joke that’s how I lose my hair – trying to get students to come into the office,” he said. “Just because the economy is better doesn’t mean it will be easy to find a job.”