Something this class doesn't need to worry about? Their reputation as a group of entitled narcissists. Experts say this stigma is associated with every graduating class, whether it's true of the generation or not. "This has been said about every generation when they first enter the job market. They're lazy. They're ill prepared. They don't want to work," Yate says. "Anyone who graduates from college and enters the job market is crossing the bridge into adulthood and wants to work."
"Companies consistently see people enter their first jobs with unrealistic expectations to run before they've walked," Challenger says. "Just keep that in mind, and set yourself apart by being willing to be an apprentice. It's probable that you're smarter than the duties your first job requires of you, but no one skyrockets to the top."
Buy, Sell or Hold?
Employers are mostly enthusiastic about the class of 2013, but with provisos: They want the most-qualified candidate who is also willing to start from the bottom. "The graduates who are getting jobs are the ones who held internships, and who are willing to work entry-level positions and those who are able to adapt to what employers want," Yate says.
"There are about 76 million baby boomers, but there are about 80 million millennials," Pollak says. "And they're not just new college grads. Millennials are just turning 30, they're taking management positions, they're parents. We have our first millennial [Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois] serving in Congress. Smart companies have to think about their preferences and work styles, and see them not just as employees, but also consumers. So companies are also realizing that they need to hire the entry-level worker."
"The way you build up your résumé is by having a willingness to work the entry-level, basic job," Challenger says. "But you learn and develop in that mundane job. Often it's in those first jobs that you develop the skills that make you stand out."