You've turned in your last assignment, taken your last test and walked across the stage at graduation. But there's still one thing to do: find a job.
Employers are planning to hire 9.6 percent more college graduates than they did last year, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Sean Snaith, director of UCF's Institute for Economic Competitiveness, said it seems to be a high percentage — even though Orlando is the fastest-growing metro area in the country, with more than 4 percent in terms of job growth. That's well over the state's rate of growth at around 3 percent and twice the national rate, which is just above 2 percent.
"We're now in the seventh year of this economic recovery. I think hiring has been improving not rapidly, but improving steadily," Snaith said.
Lynn Hansen, UCF's Career Services executive director, said it's a combination of the economy and the university's location that makes Orlando an advantageous area for graduates.
"I think that we're fortunate that we're located where we're located," she said. "With the history of technology companies, transportation, health care and hospitality here, I think we have a lot going for us."
Big-name corporations, such as Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Target, Lockheed Martin, Yelp, Yahoo and even the CIA, have all come to UCF to recruit students. Hansen said employer recruitment on campus has seen a significant increase. In spring, Career Services was actively working with 1,077 employers — an increase from 563.
"To me, that's an indication that the demand is up for talent," she said.
In a 2013-14 Career Services survey of 8,658 graduating students, 71 percent said they were seeking full-time or part-time employment. Of that number, 42 percent were already in the workforce or had accepted job offers, and 8 percent had been offered positions.
Students who were already employed or had received a full-time job were in the hospitality services and health care industries. Education and engineering were other popular choices.
Also in 2013, the Florida Department of Education found that out of the 12,047 UCF fall graduates, 68 percent of those who found jobs in Florida were still employed a year after graduation.
But these statistics aren't the whole picture, Hansen said.
There are plenty of students who get jobs out of state or in other countries who aren't counted as part of these totals.
Hansen said students who do fall in the employment statistics can improve their chances of being hired by joining campus organizations, volunteering with clubs, conducting undergraduate research, finding internships or getting part-time jobs.
"Those things help build that student into a person ... that the working world is looking for," she added.
For graduating students looking for work, it all comes down to planning.
"It's never too early to begin the process," Hansen said. "Finding that great job after graduation isn't like picking up your cap and gown on the way to the commencement ceremony."
Deanna Ferrante is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future.