As Job Market Improves, Employers Look For More Than a College Degree

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

"Just walking off of campus with a degree and saying 'here I am, hire me' isn't going to work," said Gardner.

Working in the career center at the MSU Broad College of Business has given junior Peter Daly a lot of opportunities to help others land jobs out of college. But, in the end, the most important résumé he's building is his own.

"I don't have the highest GPA, but for extracurricular activities, my participation in student organizations and also, my participation in a study abroad, this past summer, were kind of big things employers like to see," said Daly, a Finance major.

That's the message Phil Gardner is trying to get through to students, along with the release of his latest job market survey.

"Just walking off of campus with a degree and saying 'here I am, hire me' isn't going to work," said Gardner.

According to his annual Recruiting Trends report, hiring for those with bachelor's and doctoral degrees is improving, while hiring for MBAs will drop about 25 percent. Although the job market is slowly improving overall, he says there's more to a résumé than your education.

"It's internships, some could be undergraduate research, study abroad and volunteer, if it's long term," Gardner said.

Another thing you can do is build your brand through social media sites, like Linkedin, Twitter and, of course, Facebook. Capital Area Michigan Works sees people with degrees looking for a job all the time.

CEO Edythe Hatter-Williams says including extra work, like volunteering, can make a difference.

"[It] shows that you are willing to go above and beyond what is required of you," she said.

Adds Gardner, "All these ingredients go together around the degree to make it meaningful and then you have to be able to weave those together and tell a story."

A 'story' that could ultimately get you hired.

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