If you're a parent who struggled to put your kid through college, or if you're about to graduate with student loans, that education may finally be paying off. Employers say they're starting to hire again.
Good news for soon-to-be college graduates: This is the best employment outlook since before the recession. A new survey indicates companies are hiring in greater numbers and paying better salaries.
Joe Russo, 21, is graduating college next month. He already has a full-time job lined up in the same company where he worked part-time while in school.
"I had the full-time offer back in August, actually, July of last year," Russo said. "It was such a relief. I could go my entire senior year knowing I had a job."
A new study from CareerBuilder shows the outlook for Russo and his peers is the best since 2007. CareerBuilder surveyed more than 2,000 employers and found that 65 percent say they plan to hire recent college graduates this year. One-third of employers are offering more money, with one in four paying a yearly salary of $50,000 or more.
"It's just a much healthier economy, much healthier job market, and that's driving the demand for recent college graduates," said Jennifer Grasz, of CareerBuilder.
The survey found students still face challenges with skills they learn outside the classroom, like people skills and problem-solving abilities. Career counselors said that's where internships and extracurricular activities give students an advantage.
"In their course work, in their academics, they can only learn so much," said Erin McLaughlin. "So it's having those transferable skills, communication, team work, that, you know, employers are really looking for."
Students are advised to interview early and often, and to keep their social media employer friendly.