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Worrying about exams, applying for higher studies, and dorm relationships seem like priorities in college. Until senior year starts… The final year is a mess of emotions; flashback montages, and of course, the defining moment of choosing a career to embark on. Time is limited and navigating into the working world is the utmost priority.

College Graduation | Photo Pin by Dave Herholz

The good news for college seniors is that this year’s college graduates are expected to fare well when it comes to finding employment as compared to those graduating in recent years. According to the NABE (National Association of Business Economics) industry survey report published in October 2013, 27% of the surveyed US-based organizations will be adding jobs in the next six months, and 37% say they will expand payrolls.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers’ NACE 2014 Job Outlook Survey reveals that companies are going to hire 12 percent more fresh college grads for US and global positions combined. The previous NABE report also points out that the unemployment rate is expected to drop to 7% in 2014; it was 7.5% last year and 8.1% in 2012.

However, with the job market being more cutthroat than in a generation, college seniors still need to be on the top of their game; they need to take action and present themselves as not only potential candidates, but as long-term assets. Seniors can increase the odds of finding good employment through the following actionable tips:

Boost skills in final year

Employers often prefer candidates who are willing to adapt to new responsibilities and learn new skills. Students lacking the specific skills for their desired employment can take advantage of local extension courses to fill gaps in resume. Some of the departments will also offer short certifications and diplomas to help seniors meet job requirements, and students taking such courses through alma mater may also be eligible for alumni discounts.

Additionally, as senior students will be entering the job market as potential candidates, they need to market their soft skills to employers. They can determine their best soft skills through informational interviews and online assessment tests – which are great ways to receive unbiased feedback while learning about different skills.

Create an authoritative cover letter and resume

A good cover letter needs to make the best first impression because it is often the initial contact with an interested employer. One of the rules to follow is that the cover letter should be about the company, not the candidate. Employers want a piece that outlines how the applicant can solve a problem and fill in needs of the respective company.

Moreover, senior year students should be tailing their application for each job. Although candidates may possess the experience employers are looking for, if it is not defined on the resume, employers will easily pass over the applicant, even without an interview. Resume tips from professional agencies and recent grads are a great place for senior students to study in order to avoid such mistakes.

Use available resources

Instructors are one of the best available resources for senior students because they have experienced countless seniors taking the leap. Often teachers are willing to help students with letters of recommendation, identifying network contacts and researching suitable post graduate employment. Contacting them early in final year is the key to effective feedback as their time becomes limited as graduation nears.

Likewise, the college career office can prepare students for the job search. Some companies and recruiters are also in direct contact with this department, so students actively engaging with this department may be able to find jobs sooner.

Got any additional advice? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo Credit: Herkie via photopin cc

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