More Jobs for New Grads in 2014

Employers want to see work experience as well as good grades.

The Class of 2014 can heave a sigh of relief. The lectures, exams and essays are almost over, and the job market is bright. Employers plan to hire 7.8% more new grads for U.S. jobs this year than last, says the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Starting salaries are slated to rise by 4.3%.

As in past years, degree holders in engineering, business and computer science rule the roost. But grads in all majors need to show internship, co-op or work experience to land a position. “You have to do more than hit the books and get good grades,” says Andrea Koncz, of NACE. Students must be able to articulate the skills and background they bring to the table, especially when applying for positions that don’t align with a specific major.

Don’t have a job lined up? Don’t despair. Last fall’s government shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis made it difficult to finalize hiring budgets at many companies and delayed recruiting and hiring decisions. Recruiters will head back to campus this spring to take care of unfilled positions. “There will be more opportunities this spring than we’ve seen in five to six years,” says Phil Gardner, who surveys employers at Michigan State University’s College Employment Research Institute. Competition is still fierce, so visit the career center to sign up for job alerts and to perfect your résumé.

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Staff Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance