The job market is strengthening, which is good news for the thousands of young men and women who will be leaving high school and college in a few months.
Colleges and universities report revved-up campus recruiting and rising corporate participation in career fairs. Federal and state agencies report a brighter outlook for those with less training.
So students should begin polishing their résumés, making networking connections, and practicing interview techniques.
You can have a great résumé, loads of contacts, and smooth interviewing skills, but in a job search, attitude comes before everything else, notes Perri Capell in The Wall Street Journal column on recruitment. If you’re feeling depressed, bitter, or hopeless in the job search, these emotions may come through just when you need to be making a positive impression, Capell notes.
Hot job markets
Our aging population is demanding more health services and home-based care, according to USA Today. And unless more medical students begin training soon, the supply of physicians will begin to shrink in about 10 years when doctors from the baby-boomer generation retire in large numbers.
The resurging stock market has created new hiring in finance, such as stockbrokers and analysts. Low interest rates have lifted real-estate sales, creating new demand for Realtors and mortgage advisors.
Teaching and other education-related careers are getting new emphasis, from both Frankfort and Washington, D.C.
Some of the best jobs, according to a survey by CareerJournal.com, are accountant, bank officer, biologist, software engineer, and Web site manager. Among the worst are cowboy, roofer, welder, and construction worker. The survey looked at such factors as income, stress, physical demands, and job security.
Today’s job seekers are finding job competition coming from a new source—some companies are closing the door to applicants who smoke, in an effort to rein in health-care costs.
“There is discrimination at many companies—and maybe even most companies—against people who smoke,” says Jay Whitehead, publisher of HRO Today, a magazine for human resources executives.
There may also be discrimination because of looks, weight, and stature.
Research by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that better-looking people make more money than their homely or overweight co-workers, allowing for equal education and experience. The “beauty premium” is put at 5 percent. Obese women earn 17 percent less than their thinner counterparts; men who were taller than most boys at age 16 earn 2.6 percent more per inch, on average, as adults.
The St. Louis experts explain that appearance is tied to people’s productivity—attractive people are more confident and communicate better; taller teens join clubs and play sports, learning the people skills that employers prize.
Internships lead to jobs
There’s also intense competition among young men and women for the best summer internships.
It’s no wonder. The link between summer programs and full-time jobs keeps getting stronger. Major employers say 38 percent of their interns went on to full-time positions in 2004, up from 25 percent in 2001, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Some companies now put intern applicants through a rigorous screening application that rivals their regular recruiting efforts.
It wasn’t long ago that summer internships meant a lot of make-work tasks. Now they’re the latest example of how quickly the career clock starts ticking for today’s students. Microsoft and IBM, for example, regularly give interns the opportunity to create products for the market.
Internet job search information
Employers say that one-third of new hires came through the Web. Check out www.monster.com, www.careerbuilder.com, and www.hotjobs.com. They generated the ads responsible for 15 percent of last year’s hires.
A nonprofit service, www.directemployers.com, allows job seekers to type in key words and move directly onto Web sites of hundreds of companies hiring in specific fields. For example, www.medzilla.com is a pharmaceutical industry site, and www.ieee.org is the electrical engineering association’s Web site.
KEYWORD EXCLUSIVE: PREPARING A POWERFUL RÉSUMÉ
To learn how to prepare a powerful résumé, click here.