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  • The Job Search: Use and Usefulness of Resources

    September 28, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Student Attitudes
    A woman researches jobs on her laptop.

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    Graduating seniors cited employer websites as the most widely used and most useful job-search resource, according to results of NACE’s Class of 2016 Student Survey. That result is consistent with those of earlier iterations of the annual survey, which stretches back to the Class of 2007.

    Graduating seniors also tabbed people in their inner circles—personal friends, parents and others in their families, and faculty members—as “go-to” resources. (See Figure 1.)

    It’s important to note that, overall, students didn’t find any of the resources presented to be particularly useful. In fact, just two resources—employer websites and friends—were found to be “extremely useful” or “very useful” by more than half of the students responding.

    Still, even though the most widely used resources tended to be those considered by students to be the most useful, two resources stand somewhat apart from the overall use-usefulness correlation—alumni and career/job fairs.

    Career/job fairs are among the most widely used resources, but are not among the most well regarded. This is almost certainly because different majors have widely differing views on the usefulness of career/job fairs. Across 16 majors, those that found career/jobs to be the most useful included accounting, education, engineering, and psychology; those that found this resource to be the least useful included biology, communication, and liberal arts (misc.).1

    Alumni are not widely used, but they are considered among the most useful resources. Across 15 majors, those that found alumni to be the most useful included education, finance, marketing, and visual and performing arts. Meanwhile, those that found this resource to be the least useful included computer science, engineering, and liberal arts (misc.) majors.2

    NACE’s Class of 2016 Student Survey was conducted February 16 – April 30, 2016; more than 23,000 students at colleges and universities nationwide took part, including 5,600 graduating seniors. The survey report will be available in this fall.

    Figure 1: Resources used in the job search

    Resource % of respondents using % of respondents rating
    “very” or “extremely” useful
    Employer websites 94.5% 56.8%
    Friends 76.0% 51.4%
    Career/job fairs 67.8% 40.0%
    Parents/Family 64.1% 48.1%
    Faculty members 58.4% 41.5%
    Career center 58.2% 47.9%
    Employer representatives on campus 55.0% 44.1%
    Social media 54.2% 37.8%
    Employer info. sessions on-campus 51.1% 35.1%
    Ads in recruitment publications 49.1% 34.3%
    Alumni 47.1% 48.4%
    Employer brochures (print) 42.8% 22.2%
    Trade/professional associations 30.6% 29.7%
    Articles in newspapers or magazines 28.4% 25.4%
    Virtual career fairs 21.9% 21.6%
    Source: Job Outlook 2016 Spring Update, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    1 In this analysis, “Liberal Arts (misc.)” included area studies, foreign language, general studies, history, and philosophy/religious studies.
    2 In this analysis, “Liberal Arts (misc.)” included area studies, English, foreign language, general studies, history, and philosophy/religious studies.