A recent survey by con­sulting giant Accen­ture exposes a Grand Canyon-​​size gap between expec­ta­tions and real­i­ties for 2014 col­lege grad­u­ates. The most glaring dis­crep­ancy: 69 per­cent of this year’s col­lege grads expect to land a job within six months of grad­u­a­tion, but only 42 per­cent of 2012 and 2013 grads actu­ally did so.

Yep, it’s tough out there for the esti­mated 1.6 mil­lion stu­dents who’ll be earning bachelor’s degrees this year from U.S. col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties, as well as grads armed with master’s and doc­toral degrees. How­ever, the 2014 job market isn’t as tough as it’s been in recent years. Hiring of col­lege grads in the U.S. is pro­jected to rise 7.8 per­cent this year com­pared with 2013, according to the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Employers.

Whether you look at this year’s job market for col­lege grads as great or gloomy, it’s impor­tant to keep in mind that a diploma doesn’t auto­mat­i­cally trans­late into employ­ment. Col­lege grads must do the work to get the work. Here are four job-​​hunting tips for col­lege grads that skip the usual résumé/​cover letter/“dress for suc­cess” advice.


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