Working hard to have work before others

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 4 2012 10:26 a.m. MDT

Three out of four hired employees say experience is extremely critical, said Rick Westbrook, Utah's branch manager for Robert Half International.

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Being a college graduate provides a leg up on others looking for a job. In fact, only 4.1 percent of graduates are unemployed, as opposed to the general unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, according to Robert Half International.

The job market is expected to remain bright for graduates in months to come. However, available job numbers still won't match those from before the recession, said Rick Westbrook, Utah's branch manager for Robert Half International. Robert Half International issues specialized staffing services that focus on professional positions.

Needless to say, graduates will be looking for a way to beat their competition.

"Really, you've just got to be better than the next person," Westbrook said.

Actively applying and knowing the ins and outs of the company can provide the college grad with a leg up on the competition. But ultimately, it's experience in the field that will score a job.

Three out of four hired employees say experience is extremely critical, said Westbrook.

Experience, if possible, should come while in college. Internships and being a volunteer are great for real-life experience. Westbrook also mentioned getting involved in class projects or related groups at college.

Another way to get ahead of other graduates is to keep a professional online image. Becoming an active user on LinkedIn and Facebook are great tools that employers look at, said Westbrook.

Other great tools are networking and an updated, proofread resume.

Currently, the state of Utah hires more graduates than other states across the nation because the economy is so robust, said Westbrook. However, their salary is much lower than the national average, he said.

For Utah, technology and accounting tend to be the leading fields for graduates to enter, said Westbrook. Engineering and physical science areas are also providing a lot of jobs nationwide for college graduates.

Email: ehong@desnews.com Twitter: @erinhong

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