Does a college degree help you find a job?

10:26 AM, Nov 22, 2011   |    comments
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What good is a diploma if you can't find a job? That's the reality facing so many college graduates these days. Student like Natalia Rygiel are doing everything they can - even handing out hundreds of resumes at job fairs - hoping to land a coveted spot in the job market.

"Even with the degree, it doesn't seem so hopeful to get a job that quickly," Rygiel said. "I'm scared of starting a new life. It just seems that everything is delay and becoming independent is more and more impossible."

"I've been looking since I got out of the school in May. It's a little tough, you know - with the economy," Bryan Stadterman, a recent college graduate, said.

However, 2011's college graduates may find the job market a bit more welcoming than the class before them - a trend made possible by high corporate profits this year.

"Companies may actually prefer young and fresh graduates that could be going to the training rather than taking somebody that graduated two years ago where their experience really is not relevant at all," Ghosh Chinmoy, with the University of Connecticutt School of Business, said.

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the hiring of new college graduates is up 10 percent in 2011, with many jobs going to students who have a business background. A recent survey from shows that: Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Teach for America, Verizon Wireless and Hertz are the top four employers of entry-level graduates. The median starting salary for those companies is around $27,000.

That said, the reality of student loans weigh heavy on the minds of many young professionals who know the longer they're out of work, the longer it'll take to get out of debt.

"I don't want to kill my credit, and the interest is only going to keep building," Adam Seay, a 2010 college graduate, said. "I have to get a job that is paying enough so I can pay small amounts."

With employers receiving hundreds of resumes, it's up to you to make yours stand out. A great way to do this? Use job titles and skill headings that relate to and match the jobs you want.

"You want to make sure you tailor your resume towards whatever the employers' posting indicates, so you want to make sure that when that employer gets that resume the top third of that resume shows exactly what they're looking for and what you can bring to that employer," Sandy Mello, a career counselor with the Department of Labor, said.

The median starting salary for students graduating from four-year colleges in 2009 and 2010 was $27,000 - down from $30,000 for those who entered the work force before the economic crisis.

(Copyright © 2011 NBC Universal, All Rights Reserved)

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