A positive attitude and good communication skills are key to a successful job search. Credit: Wikimedia Commons A positive attitude and good communication skills are key to a successful job search.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

With a few million students graduating this month, there's even more competition for jobs. The good news is that college hiring has increased by 7.8% relative to 2013, reports the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Still, it's very competitive and graduates have to put a lot of work in to stand out. In a new study in partnership with Beyond.com, Millennial Brandingfound that 73% of hiring managers felt that colleges are only “somewhat preparing” students for the working world. It's now on the students shoulders to figure out the recruiting game. Here are three tips based on our findings:

1. Choose a company based on culture. Companies are now hiring for cultural fit over all other qualifications because someone's personality is a leading indicator for how productive and successful they will be on the job. 43% of HR professionals surveyed said that cultural fit was the single most important factor when deciding whom to hire. Identify a company culture based on multimedia they post online about their workplace, stories from people who currently work there and your interviews.

2. Don't major in liberal arts. The most disappointing finding in our study was that only 2% of companies are actively recruiting liberal arts majors versus 27% for engineering and 18% for business. Almost half of all professionals surveyed said that they believe there are "no jobs" for liberal arts degrees. If you have majored in liberal arts, you should immediately start reading business books, taking business classes, and get a mentor in order to fill in the gap.


3. Develop your soft skills. To no one'ssurprise, soft skills were the most important to HR professionals when recruiting new graduates. The top three attributes that companies are currently looking for are: a positive attitude (84%), communication skills (83%) and an ability to work as a team (74%). The best way to have a better attitude is to choose the right profession and company to work for instead of applying to random jobs. You'll naturally have a positive attitude if you're in the right job and culture. If you want to be a better communicator, make it a point to put your smartphone down and go meet people.

Dan Schawbel is a workplace expert, keynote speaker, and author of the New York Times best-selling book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success.

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