It's no secret that students and families are increasingly focused on the return they get from their investment in higher education. And they're measuring that return by their employment outcomes: if students achieve their goals in the job market, they feel the cost of tuition was worth it.
According to recent figures from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers are projected to hire 16.6% more grads from the Class of 2019 than members of last year's graduating class. But that doesn't guarantee your grads will get hired immediately.
Amanda Augustine, a career expert for TopResume, tells CNBC the five steps students can take to land their first job faster.
1: Make the most of their networks
Most recent grads assume that the best way to increase their odds of landing a job is to simply submit more applications.
But it's more efficient for them to leverage their network, says Augustine. She encourages grads to think about whether they know anyone who works in a field they're interested in. "These natural connectors from your personal network can often introduce you to relevant people outside your social circle that could be valuable during your search," she says.
And it's not just about who they know personally. Augustine encourages grads to tap into their alumni networks by using LinkedIn and attending alumni events. After all, 90% of hiring managers would prefer to hire a fellow alum if possible, according to alumni networking platform Alumnifire.
2: Grow their networks
After graduation, jobseekers can meet likeminded professionals by joining organizations through portals such as Directory of Associations, VolunteerMatch, and Meetup. "The bigger your network, the easier it will become to find and connect with others who can help you achieve your job-search goals," says Augustine.
3: Keep learning
There are plenty of professional development opportunities for grads looking to become more marketable candidates, Augustine points out. For instance, grads can take advantage of informational interviews to learn more about their desired field or a specific company. Or they can work on developing new skills by attending industry conferences or through online course platforms such as Lynda or Coursera.
4: Boost their resumes with volunteer or freelance work
A side gig not only acts as a resume-booster, but could also lead to new connections that may open up new job opportunities, says Augustine. She recommends that students check website like UpWork and College Recruiter to find part-time freelance work.
5: Tailor their resumes
"Think of your resume as a marketing document whose content has been carefully curated based on your job goals," recommends Augustine, "rather than a record of your work history and education." Grads should tailor their resumes to the jobs they are applying for, ensuring they focus on the qualifications relevant to that particular role (Kero, CNBC, 2/28).
Next in Today's Briefing
Strategies for supporting low-income students (that aren't financial aid)