Hiring of new grads to drop this summer

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MonsterTRAK, the student division of job board Monster Worldwide, released its 2008 Entry Level Job Outlook today with some sobering news for ’08 grads. Among 1,117 employers surveyed,

59 percent of employers plan to hire 2008 graduates in the spring or summer, a decrease of 17 percent year-over-year, while 29 percent are still unsure.

But there’s some good news on the pay front:

One-third of employers with hiring plans will increase starting salaries – driving employers’ anticipated average salary for 2008 graduates to $39.5K, up from $36K last year

College students, being college students, remain optimistic:

73 percent of prospective graduates expect to receive two or more job offers upon graduation.

Uh huh. But they’re realistic when it comes to their living prospects:

48 percent of prospective graduates expect to “boomerang” and spend at least some time living with their parents, continuing a three year trend.

So what’s the best way to snag employers’ interest for those few available jobs? The survey yields some clues:

Often-overlooked, making a professional impression on employers is a critical part of the hiring process – in fact, 43 percent of employers report personal characteristics as most important when assessing college graduates. However, only 19 percent of 2007 graduates recognized it as such.

Never mind the two-page resumés detailing years of experience at the Dairy Queen. Get to the interview on time, dress appropriately, smile often, don’t belch, and make a good impression on the interviewer. Forty gees, here you come.