PhotoThe job market for college graduates this year is expected to be one of the best in years.

Even now, members of the Class of 2016 are reporting near-record job opportunities, and that's about to get better. Entry level employment site CollegeGrad.com projects employers will increase their hiring in 2017 by 8.5%. Its survey of hiring managers found plans for employment expansion are the greatest in 15 years.

Due to economic recovery, employers have had difficulty filling slots for people with special skills. They apparently think today's graduates are closer to the skill levels they need than in years past.

"The increases in hiring are well above the record number of hires set last year," said Brian Krueger, CEO of CollegeGrad.com. "We have seen quite a few employers that are literally doubling their entry level hiring in 2017."

List of who's hiring

If you're going to be graduating in May, check out CollegeGrad.com's Top Entry Level Employers list. It contains links to entry level job postings, as well as internships, at more than 400 companies.

Krueger says among the companies aggressively hiring this year are Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Dell, Vanguard, Amazon, Staples, and Capital One.

"If a college student is looking for the definitive list of who is hiring, this is the list that will jump start looking for a job," said Krueger.

How to improve your chances

While it may be more of a job seeker's market since before the Great Recession, it doesn't mean landing the job will be a slam dunk. Back in 2012, when the entry level job market was extremely tough, Forbes offered this advice: get started with your job search long before you graduate.

If you're a member of the Class of 2017, hopefully you've been sending out resumes and mining your LinkedIn contacts. If you're going to graduate in 2018, the time to get started is now.

If you haven't already, Forbes says you should create a LinkedIn profile. Include non-professional jobs you may have had in high school. They show initiative and can be deleted later as your work experience grows.

If you know what career path you plan to follow, get involved with a professional development or industry-related group. For many, this is an untapped resource that can pay off with a job offer sooner, and maybe for a higher starting salary.


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