The sun is shining the birds are chirping and the class of 2017 is about to graduate, which means going out and looking for a job.

According to Kim Barberich, executive director of the Rider University Career Development & Success Department, this year’s job outlook for new graduates is looking better than last year.

“The landscape looks like there’s going to be, for 2017, about a 6 percent increase in hiring, I think that’s really exciting,” she said.

Dora Onyschak, the New Jersey metro market manager and vice president at Robert Half, a staffing and employment agency, said 74 percent of employers are hiring new grads this year.

The top degrees that employers are looking for are business, engineering and communication technologies.

Barberich adds that “healthcare is also a really strong domain right now, especially because New Jersey has so many pharmaceutical companies.”

“We did a recent survey with our upcoming graduates and I noticed there were several of them who had already been offered jobs within the healthcare field. Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Meyers Squibb, Novo Nordisk, just to name some bigger companies.”

She said when graduates are seeking employment, they want to put their best foot forward.

“That includes kind of the obvious things, like building a really strong resume, being able to write a cover letter, really being able to interview," she said.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re 21 or 61, interview skills are important and you really need to work on it.” .

Which means getting more comfortable with talking about yourself.

“This would be at interviews or when they just meet people, their parents' friends, when they meet people at the gym or at an event,” she said.

Onyschak recommends new grads do some research to find out what the job they’re applying for is paying.

“50 percent of companies are finding that they’re paying new grads more. Our salary guide is showing that, in general, salaries are going to be starting at an increase of 3.6 percent,” she said.

She also said those offered a position should feel free to discuss their salary based on factual findings.

“There’s nothing wrong with saying, Hey, listen, I’ve done my research and I understand in general this type of position is paying X,” she said.

Barberich added social media sites like LinkedIn can also be an important tool to help you find a job.

“It’s another thing that I think in the last five years has really changed the landscape professionally,” she said.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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