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Students Say College Is Not Preparing Them for Job Market

Findings from a new survey show about two-thirds of students feel that high school prepared them adequately for college, but they don't give their colleges very high marks in getting them ready for the job market.

Just 35 percent of the 1,000 college students polled said college was effective in preparing them for a job, according to the McGraw Hill Education 2015 Workforce Survey conducted online by Hanover Research. In college, 58 percent said they did not learn how to network or conduct a job search, 56 percent did not learn how to conduct themselves in a job interview, and 51 percent said they had no guidance in writing a resume.

Recent college grads may not feel confident entering the market, but hiring and salaries are up.

About 65 percent of employers say they plan to hire recent college graduates this year, up from 57 percent last year—the best employment picture since 2007, a survey of employers this spring from the human resource company CareerBuilder shows. Thirty-three percent of companies expect to offer higher salaries this year.

When asked what qualities recent graduates were lacking, employers most frequently said interpersonal or people skills, followed by problem-solving skills and effective oral communication, according to the poll of 2,175 hiring managers.

Students in the McGraw Hill survey have ideas about how to improve their job qualifications. About two-thirds want more internships, 61 percent suggest classes designed to build career skills, and 58 percent want more time focused on career preparation.

These findings give prospective students more reason to check out career-service offices when visiting campuses. Still, just 33 percent of students in the survey think career services are effective, and 25 percent never used them on campus.

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