25 firms with the most entry-level job applications from college grads

Personal Finance

In addition to the top 25 firms (see full list below), the Handshake report revealed that the current generation of college students are rewriting the rules on resume writing, and seeking new types of jobs across an increasing number of cities.

1. Quantified skills are in, traditional soft skills are going away

These terms are all out in resumes: hard worker, organized, self-motivated, reliable, quick learned, responsible, dedicated, personable. All of these words have seen a decline of between 30 percent and 60 percent.

The keywords that are seeing huge growth in the past year, measured in hundreds of percent increases: creative problem solving, client relations, team lead, front-end, visualization, community engagement.

2. The job keywords that students are searching on more

The following work terms have been the most popular in student searches in the past year, also seeing increases measured in the hundreds of percent: Remote, work study, data analysis, politics, mental health and machine learning.

3. New York, Chicago and San Francisco are the top draws, but not the only ones

College students think regionally when it comes to jobs. In the West, they want to work in San Francisco; in the Northeast, they want to work in New York; in the Midwest, they want to work in Chicago; and in the Southeast, they want to work in Atlanta. These are also the top four cities for jobs overall.

But some cities are more than pulling their weight based on population: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (No. 14 among cities); Palo Alto, California (No. 15); Cambridge, Massachusetts; (No. 16); and Orlando, Florida (No. 22).

For three of those four cities, there is a correlation with the prominence of nearby institutions of higher education — Stanford (Palo Alto), MIT and Harvard (Cambridge) and Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburgh). However, Palo Alto, Cambridge, and Pittsburgh made the top 20 rank by omitting on-campus employment and university-roles, so these numbers don’t include jobs at the actual local institution. And the numbers also reflect interest in jobs within these cities from around the country, not just candidates located nearby.

“It’s notable because, while cities like New York and San Francisco are still some of the most popular with students, they’re also becoming so expensive that it’s difficult for most recent grads,” said Lord. “It may be causing them to turn to less expensive cities like Pittsburgh or Orlando to start their career.”

4. The public education sector is struggling

Only 8 percent of students applying to jobs through Handshake applied to jobs in K-12 education, by far the lowest among major hiring areas beyond the private corporate sector: nonprofits (40 percent of applicants); federal agencies (30 percent of applicants); and local government (22 percent of applicants).

These findings come at a time when teacher strikes across the country have highlighted the issues of public education pay and work conditions.

“The demand for teachers is greater than the supply of students looking to enter the teaching profession,” said Lord.

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