By: Tara Golenberke, marketing professional in the education industry, and former digital media & marketing manager at the DePaul Career Center

Preparing for life after DePaul, can you imagine it? Let us paint you a picture.

You’re decked out in your new work gear, clutching a portfolio that houses years of experience – The daily grind, the kindled dreams, the future goals and the pool of new connections. You’re ready for the job interview, and you’re confident knowing that the college-hiring outlook is, well, killer.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2016 report, employers plan to hire 11 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2016 for their U.S. operations than they did from the Class of 2015.

Not only is U.S. hiring going to increase for 2016 graduates, but respondents recruiting for positions outside of the U.S. also expect to increase hiring, based on report findings.

The final quarter is in full swing, and the reality of preparing for life after college is sinking in for this year’s graduating seniors. Fortunately, graduates, the job market is looking bright.

Degrees in Demand

Regardless of degree level, graduates of the business, engineering, computer and information sciences categories are most in demand, based on the report. Top degrees in demand by broad category include business, engineering, computer and information sciences, math and sciences, communications, and social sciences.

“Within the humanities disciplines, liberal arts/general studies majors are most in demand, with 94 percent of respondents indicating they will hire these graduates,” noted the report.

If your degree category or major is not listed among the “in demand,” don’t fret, as recruiters do not evaluate candidates based on this criterion alone.

What Employers Are Looking For

Work Experience

There is no question that employers consider work experience when hiring college graduates. According to the report, a very small pool of respondents – only 6.3 percent to be exact – said that work experience does not factor into their hiring decisions. Rather, a whopping 91% of respondents preferred to hire candidates with some type of work experience under their belt.

GPA Screening

According to the report, 69.3 percent of recruiters will screen candidates from the 2016 class, and a little over 70 percent of employers who plan to screen candidates by GPA will use a cutoff of 3.0. Although GPA has a strong influence, so do other factors including leadership skills, participation in extracurricular activities and written and verbal communications skills.

Power of Social Media

The trend of utilizing technology in the recruiting process ceases to waver. The report stated, “more than half of the respondents to this year’s survey plan to use more social networks and/or more technology in general in their recruiting methods.” Maintaining a professional online presence is more important than ever.

Career Exploration at DePaul

No matter where you are in your career search, whether it’s finding the right career path, arranging a portfolio, landing an internship or preparing for your first job interview, the DePaul Career Center is here to support you. Allow our advisors and professionals to share their wealth of knowledge about today’s employers and the strategies and tools you need to impress and ultimately achieve your career goals. Learn more about the Career Center and start connecting with alumni and employers today.


UPDATE: NACE just released new projections based on the Job Outlook 2016 Spring Update survey, which was conducted from February 10 – March 22, 2016. Employers now expect to hire 5.2% more graduates this year compared to the 11% they projected earlier. They also found the average number of job postings for the 2015-16 recruiting year is down compared to the 2014-15 year. You can find more projections based on the spring survey, here.

So far, the DePaul University Career Center has seen a 22% increase in the number of job postings this recruiting year over last. Visit Handshake to apply for jobs posted. The Career Center plans to monitor these projections as well as employer activity to continue to best serve DePaul students and their career search.