Atlanta college student looking for a career? These jobs are in demand

A trifecta of September occurrences — students being back in school, the Labor Day holiday and the end of the lackadaisical summer season — tends to make people think about jobs.

That's especially so for college-age prospective employees who will be soon entering an unusually tight labor market. Georgia unemployment is at a 17-year low, with the jobless rate having fallen to 3.9 percent last month.

For those who may be in such a predicament, it can be helpful to consider what the most in-demand jobs are, and how you can get them.

Ryan Hansen, a branch manager for staffing agency Accountemps, a Robert Half company, advises that college graduates looking to land their first jobs need to be “flexible, proactive and creative.” He suggests that job seekers: network in order to find out about “hidden” job opportunities that aren’t advertised; actively monitor and maintain their online reputation; include major school projects and other volunteer opportunities on resumes and application materials; research the company before the interview and finally, show enthusiasm for the job during the interview.

These are the five most in-demand, entry-level jobs for college graduates, Hansen said:

• Data analyst

Job: Study complex data systems and document data elements, data flow, relationships and dependencies.

Salary range: $46,500 to $60,000 (with at least one year of experience)

Skills and requirements: Employers want analysts who efficiently read, interpret and translate customer insights to improve a company's service and performance. Communication skills are critical in this role because data analysts must frequently present their findings or translate data so it's easily understood.

• Financial analyst

Job: Technical accounting, which includes tasks such as producing monthly financial reports and interacting with customers.

Salary range:  $45,000 to $55,500

Skills and requirements: A bachelor's degree in accounting or finance, knowledge of Excel, familiarity with enterprise resource planning and reporting software experience, like Hyperion.

• Accountant

Job: Assist with audit fieldwork, both operational and financial, balance ledger accounts and correct account discrepancies. These jobs are consistently in demand at certified public accounting (CPA) firms and sometimes start as temporary positions through tax season and turn into full-time positions later.

Salary range: $40,000 to $48,750

Skills and requirements: Credentials (such as certified public accounting), advanced degrees (such as an MBA) and analytical skills to analyze and identify trends and variances.

• HR recruiting specialist/coordinator

Job: Find quality job candidates by posting job listings, evaluating applications and candidates and preparing offer letters of employment.

Salary range: $32,500 to $37,500

Skills and requirements: Must have strong communication and interpersonal abilities to be successful. Top candidates are confidential and discreet.

• Marketing assistant

Job: Support marketing managers and executives with projects like fielding calls, managing calendars, coordinating travel arrangements, developing sales strategies, and preparing reports.

• Salary range: $36,500 to $40,250

• Skills and requirements: Strong communication skills, expertise in Microsoft Office, project coordination and organizational skills

Another way to deduce what employers are looking for is to see which college undergraduate majors are getting the most jobs.

To do that, CareerCast, which puts out an annual Jobs Rated report, recently evaluated information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the Georgetown University Center of Education and the Workforce. The job search portal site found the college degrees with the best job prospects are: accounting, business management, chemistry, computer science, finance, information systems, marketing and market research, mathematics, mechanical engineering and nursing.

Jasmine Singfield, an unemployed 23-year-old mother of a 3-year-old, is studying to get a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management. Singfield feels she’s entering a “tough” job market with high competition, but is looking for a job by attending job fairs and following up with prospective employers.

The Jonesboro resident attended a job fair in DeKalb County on Monday to see about a security job with Allied Universal, which could provide needed flexibility. But after seeing Grady Health System's booth, she veered in that direction, interested in a position as a medical assistant.

“Today I’m hopeful, because I got time to interact and meet with some of the recruiters that can give a good word,” Singfield said.

READ | How to find a great job in high school

READ | The best jobs to get without a college degree

READ | Solid job growth expected in Georgia

READ | Torpy at Large: When old crimes kill a new man's career dreams

READ | The 20 worst-paying jobs for women right now

READ | The 25 highest-paying jobs in the US right now — and which cities are hiring

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