The days when a high school diploma guaranteed you a sweet spot in a top company has long gone. High school graduation used to be a signal of a successful transition to adulthood, similar to moving out of your parents’ house or getting your first car. But the times have changed, and nowadays having just a high school diploma may prove detrimental to your chances of getting your dream job.

Do companies value college graduates?
To put it shortly, yes! Today, having a college diploma under your belt is almost mandatory for many professions. Of course, there are prodigious professionals that somehow managed to learn a set of skills without going to college (typically in the software engineering sector), but these cases are one in a million. What’s more, some employers aren’t satisfied with just a B.A. or a B.Sc. from an average university and look for graduates coming from top schools, such as the Ivy League. Other employers continue to look for students that have an extensive experience in the work field, acquired through internship programs and research programs.

Every year, millions of college graduates are looking for their place in the struggling U.S. job market. Human resources experts point out that up to 75 percent of graduates don’t have jobs waiting for them and will most likely have to submit their resumes to tens of companies before their luck strikes out.

Here is a list detailing some of the top companies that value a college education and constantly hire fresh graduates:

1. Verizon Wireless
The largest provider of wireless telecommunication in the United States, Verizon Wireless is a subsidiary of the giant Verizon Communications Inc. It provides wireless communication services to more than 124 million subscribers (as of 2014) and is headquartered in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.The corporation describes itself as a leader in the industry, with core values such as respect, performance excellence, accountability and integrity. These important beliefs are a reflection of their determination to provide the best services to their customers, both locally and globally. Verizon Wireless delivers first class customer experience, a customer-centric focus, strong ethical practices and an exemplary financial discipline.The company values a college education and is continually involved in the development of the skills of its employees and has extensive partnerships with many educational institutions in the country. Every year, the company hires more than 4,500 college graduates. The successful candidates will receive the Total Rewards package, a complete set of medical, dental and vision insurance package, a generous 401(k) plan, paid holidays and vacations, life programs, a continuous adult learning program and tuition assistance.Verizon Wireless is one of the leading employers in the nation when it comes to college graduates. It offers a wide range of career choices, in areas such as marketing, liberal arts or music, business administration, information systems, and management. Each candidate will be valued on their GPA score, computer skills, communication skills, extracurricular skills and internship experience.

2. PricewaterhouseCoopers
One of the major players in the global professional services sector, PricewaterhouseCoopers is present in 157 countries and employs more than 184,000 people (as of 2014). It is one of the Big Four auditors, alongside Deloitte, Ernst&Young and KPMG. Having a total revenue of more than $32.1 billion in 2013, the company is the fifth largest in the United States. PricewaterhouseCoopers is a dream employer for many fresh college graduates, mainly because it values academic work, persistence and ambition. It offers extensive career growth possibilities, international exposure for the best employees and numerous attractive benefits. The company evaluates its applicants, testing their communication and computer skills, their teamwork experience and numerous other skills. Offering complete services in diverse sectors such as tax advisory, audit, assurance and accounting, as well as several other professional services, the company is constantly looking for college graduates coming from various fields. The benefits for successful applicants include an unparalleled coaching program, mentoring, global opportunities, technology driven work methodologies and excellent career development programs. PricewaterhouseCoopers hired 4,000 entry-level employees, 3,125 interns and 130 master degree graduates in 2011 alone. Some of the most sought after majors include accounting, banking, finance, actuary, mathematics, computer science and statistics. Candidates are evaluated based on their type of major, GPA score, computer skills and internship experience.

3. Hertz
The Hertz Corporation is the largest car rental operator in the United States and is constantly one of the top employers for college graduates in the country. Its operations are based in 145 countries and it is based in Park Ridge, New Jersey. Hertz values college graduates, offering more than 4,250 job opening every year in a variety of sectors, including 200 jobs for interns, as well as 50 jobs for master degree graduates.Hertz offers its successful candidates very attractive packages, including a generous 401(k) plan, extensive medical and dental insurance plans, tuition plan, a well thought out career development program and paid holidays and vacations. The most sough after college majors are business administration, business management, accounting, restaurant and hospitality management, human resources and information systems. The company values college graduates coming from almost all fields, but focuses on their GPA scores as well as extracurricular activities. For certain positions, college graduates are evaluated on their communication skills and personal appearance.

4. Ernst&Young
Ernst&Young is one of the leading multinational professional services companies in the world. Headquartered in London, it is part of the Big Four audit firms. It employs more than 190,000 people and it has offices in 150 countries.One of the most important players in the professional services sector, Ernst&Young sits comfortably among the top employment choices for fresh college graduates. The company values students who performed academically, have extensive extracurricular experience, have participated in internships and have an energetic ambition. It offers its applicants tremendous career growth possibilities, a global experience in some of its many offices, attractive benefits packages and excellent career planning programs. The company is specialized in tax advisory, business consultancy, audits, accounting and assurance and is constantly looking for graduates coming from a variety of specialties. Some of the most desirable college majors include accounting, finance, information systems, mathematics and business administration. Human resources managers predict that the company will hire more than 4,800 graduates in 2014, including 2,000 entry-level graduates, 2,000 interns and 800 master degree graduates. Applicants will be assessed on their type of major, GPA score, communication skills, computer skills and internship experience.

5. KPMG
KPMG is one of the Big Four audit companies, having offices in 155 countries and employs more than 155,000 people. It provides first class professional services, with a special focus on audit, tax and advisory.The company is one of the top choices for employment for fresh college graduates, offering attractive wages, extensive career growth opportunities, attractive benefit packages and a well structured career planning program. It values college graduates coming from a wide range of areas, but mainly looks for accounting, business and computer science majors. Human resources managers expect that KPMG will hire more than 4,100 employees in 2014, including 2,300 entry-level graduates and 1,800 interns. KPMG prefers to hire employees for their top positions through an internship program, rather than directly off the campus. The top candidate characteristics they look for are the GPA score, the type of major, communication skills, internship experience and they pay particular attention to where the student graduated from.

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