College students: Try less beer, more networking

April 28, 2011 at 7:18 AM ET

AP /

Now that they’re out in the cruel, hard world, many 20-somethings wish they had spent more time in college trying to get a job.

A survey of about 500 recent college graduates ages 22 to 26, conducted on behalf of staffing firm Adecco, found that nearly 30 percent wish they had done more networking prior to graduation.

About one-quarter said they wish they would have applied to more jobs, and a quarter said they should have started their job search earlier.

They may have good reason to regret how little time they put into working toward future employment. About four in 10 recent grads who are working said they’re in a job that doesn’t require that four-year degree they just earned.

The financial repercussions appear to be pretty substantial: One-third of those surveyed were living with their parents.

The results aren’t too surprising given the difficult job market. The unemployment rate has generally been higher for younger workers than for older workers over the course of the recent recession and recovery. For 20- to 24-year-olds, the unemployment rate was 15 percent in March, far higher than the overall unemployment rate of 8.8 percent.

Still, things may be looking up -- a bit -- now that the job market appears to be recovering, if slowly. A separate survey of 2,800 hiring managers and human resource professionals found that 46 percent plan to hire recent college graduates in 2011, up from 44 percent last year.

About one-fourth of those employers expect to offer higher starting salaries than they did last year.

That survey was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder.com.

© 2014 CNBC LLC. All Rights Reserved