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  • First-Generation Students: Job-Search Resources

    October 12, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Student Attitudes
    Three first generation students review an employer's job postings.

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    The job-search resource that yielded the largest difference in use between first-generation students and their non-first generation classmates was soliciting the guidance of parents and/or relatives, according to results of NACE’s Class of 2016 Student Survey.

    More than two-thirds of non-first generation students used the guidance of parents and/or relatives as a job-search resource, while slightly more than half of first-generation students did the same.

    This is not surprising. Given the fact that parents of first-generation students have not earned bachelor’s degrees, this no doubt narrows first-generation students’ ability to make use of this resource in their job search.

    Other types of personal networking that were highly used by both first-generation and non-first generation students were faculty members (59.4 percent of first-generation students, 57.1 percent of non-first generation) and friends (74.4 percent of first-generation students, 76.2 percent of non-first generation).

    Additional differences among the groups existed: First-generation students used resources such as virtual career fairs, articles in newspapers/magazines, and ads in publications/magazines significantly more than non-first generation students. On the other hand, non-first generation students tended to use on-campus employer representatives and on-campus career/job fairs more often to aid in their searches than did first-generation students.

    NACE’s Class of 2016 Student Survey was conducted February 16 – April 30, 2016; more than 23,000 students at colleges and universities nationwide took part, including 5,600 graduating seniors. Among graduating seniors, 5,013 self-identified as either first generation (1,925) or non-first generation (3,088). First-generation students are defined as having a parent/parents who does/do not possess at least a bachelor’s degree. The Class of 2016 Student Survey was sponsored by Enterprise.

    Survey participants can access a full copy of the report through MyNACE. Highlights from the Class of 2016 Student Survey are available at

    Figure 1: Student's use of job resources

    First Generation Non-First Generation
    Career/job fairs 64.9% 69.2%
    Employer websites 94.2% 94.9%
    Employer representatives on campus 52.2% 56.1%
    Employer information presentations on campus 49.7% 51.2%
    Employer recruitment brochures (print) 42.9% 42.0%
    Ads in job-search/recruitment publications/magazines 53.7% 46.7%
    Trade/professional associations 32.1% 29.4%
    Virtual career fairs 25.9% 19.0%
    Career center 57.6% 58.4%
    Faculty members 59.4% 57.1%
    Friends 74.4% 76.2%
    Parents and/or relatives 55.4% 67.7%
    Alumni 43.7% 47.4%
    Articles in newspapers or magazines 31.3% 25.2%
    Source: Class of 2016 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers