Graduates and the job market

(CNN) – Corinne Buckwalter’s communications degree is the culmination of four years of hard work. So is the job she starts in June.

She completed six internships while studying at the University of Maryland, to set her up for that next step, “I started looking seriously at jobs and applying in January when I got back from winter break. Started talking to everyone I knew.”

Buckwalter’s strategy is typical among members of the class of 2015. Eight in ten said they considered the job market in their intended field before selecting their major, according to a survey by Accenture.

“This year’s grads I would say, are optimistic, they’re pragmatic and maybe most importantly, they’re prepared. Preparedness was something they thought about a long time ago, and have really been thinking about and using to their advantage,” said David Smith of Accenture Strategy.

The class of 2015 leaves campus amid some of the most favorable employment statistics in years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be easy. It still comes down to what the student, and an employer are really looking for.

“I think it’s relatively good all-around, and improving, but students are still looking for the right job,” said Kelley Bishop, University of Maryland career center director.

Kelley bishop is the director of the career center at the University of Maryland. He says the class of 2015 has been more optimistic than immediate predecessors, “I think most students are not so much concerned about getting a job, but about being underemployed or having to take a job that’s not with their preferred employer or not in their preferred field.  So they’re aware that to get the best jobs it’s still competitive. You’re going to have to compete for it.”

With the nationwide unemployment rate at a seven-year low, the class of 2015 seems willing to compete for more than just a paycheck.

The Accenture survey found young people looking closely at development opportunities, work-life balance and company culture, which was key in Buckwalter’s decision, “It really just seemed like the right fit for me. I loved the office. They’ve had zero turnover in the last year, when they opened. I’m looking for a career, not a job. So I’m really excited about that.”

A combination of optimism and the improving economy, helping the class of 2015.

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