Good news for the 2014 class of college graduates: Employers expect to hire more of them than last year.

Recent surveys suggest employers will be more welcoming to students looking for their first break in the workaday world. Locally, post-secondary schools express the same optimism even as the job search continues to be a stressful process.

“This year, people seem like they will find something,” said Vicki Sannuto, Central Washington University’s career services director. “They may not find their ideal job, but they are more optimistic.”

An April survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported employers plan to hire 8.6 percent more Class of 2014 graduates than they hired in 2013. A Harris Poll, meanwhile, said about 57 percent of employers plan to hire new college graduates this year, up from 53 percent of employers last year.

Jose Ibarra, 20, of Zillah is one of the fortunate ones to find a job before graduation. The Perry Tech electrical technology student will move to Spokane in late May to work for Rainbow Electric. It was not an easy search, he said; Ibarra spent four months looking and waiting for calls and interviews.

“You have stress knowing they may not call you back, if they were going to hire or not,” he said. “I’d call them at least three times a month just to see what was up. And then there was the effort put into school.”

While Ibarra will move east, there are jobs for grads within the Yakima Valley, school officials stressed. Melissa Hill, Heritage University’s assistant vice president for student affairs, said students are finding more local jobs than in years past.

“There are more opportunities for them to pursue different careers here,” she said.

Hill gave tips on making the best out of exhaustive job searches: stay in the right mindset, never underestimate networking and polish up interview skills. Networking, she said, is relatively important given that people met through previous internships, school or social life could present candidates with unprecendented opportunities.

A popular and effective way to network in 2014 is through the social media site LinkedIn. Often seen as a place to set up a digital resume, Heritage and Central officials said the potential to find that entry-level job through LinkedIn is understated. More than 300 million people worldwide use the site to update their resume, connect with friends and employers and post job openings, among other features.

Sannuto said students need to have a LinkedIn profile, as more employers focus on the “online presence” of its candidate pools. She said a vast majority of employers will check online; LinkedIn, Sannuto said, is a place to meet alumni, participate in discussion forums and find out “who’s who.”

“It’s true what they say: Networking can help you find a job,” she added.

Lastly, most universities, colleges and technical schools recommend students visit career services centers, where the focus is on helping students. Sannuto said CWU’s career services receives an average of 40,000 requests from students per year. Hill, meanwhile, said Heritage’s services include setting up mock interviews, reviewing resumes, networking and alumni support.