Little Rock, Ark. (KTHV) -- As graduation draws near, many college seniors are preparing for life in the real world and for the first time in a long time the outlook is positive.
If you're a college senior, chances are you've been interning or job searching for months. The possibility of finding a job immediately after college looks better than before.
You've got your graduation cap and gown. You're ready to cross the stage and accept your diploma. But one thing weighs on your mind, you don't have a job lined up.
"There is so much competition in terms of how many people are applying to each specific position," says Rachel Idso is a branch manager for hiring firm, Robert Half International.
Idso says it's a good sign to have a competitive job market.
"It's a great thing for employers today because they're getting the cream of the crop. They're seeing wonderful professionals that have experience and working themselves through college and are now entering the workforce fulltime," Idso explains.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, bosses expect to hire 10.2% more college grads this year compared to 2011.
"There are more jobs out there and people are hiring in a higher capacity than they were last year for the kids that graduated in 2011 or even in 2010," adds Idso.
Kelley Bass with UALR's College of Engineering and IT says he's noticed more employers seeking out niche graduates.
"We have an active EIT, which is what we call our college jobs board. And we have 21 companies that have job listings postings on our job board. Big name companies around Arkansas," says Bass.
Bass says many students who intern during school are finding jobs quicker than others.
"We have a lot of our students who get very relevant internships while they're here in school. A lot of times those just convert to full time jobs upon graduation," adds Bass.
Taylor Krost, a junior studying mechanical engineering systems, hopes his time interning at Caterpillar leads to a job after graduation.
"Everybody seems to be getting jobs that I know of and they either had an internship that rotated them into a fulltime position or they were already looking for a job and found one pretty easily," says Krost.
Bass says UALR's College of Engineering and IT was formed in 1999 with the sole purpose of helping engineering and IT based companies fill their vacancies. The college's Student Services Department works hard with employers, particularly in Arkansas, to match students with jobs.
For the second year in a row, employers have adjusted their expectations upward. The National Association College and Employers also found the average number of jobs posted increased from this time last year.