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Brianna Perez, who graduated from Fairfield University in Connecticut last month with a marketing degree, could have gone the tried-and-true route by taking an entry-level job in her field.

Instead, she’ll rotate among several departments – including marketing, finance, human resources and operations – for a fast-growing health care company before choosing a long-term position in whichever area she fancies. The experience could set the stage for an eventual career as a top executive, perhaps even CEO.

“It’s like a spider's web with so many paths I can go to,” Perez says.

This year’s college graduates are entering the most favorable job market in decades. Employers fall over themselves to snare the newly minted workers —trotting out sweetened offers as they grapple with widespread labor shortages.

Many graduates join the workforce at higher job levels and pay, or they are placed on accelerated career tracks. They’ve been wooed with signing bonuses, flexible hours, vacation stipends, pet insurance and vows to wipe away their student debt.

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“It’s a bit of a feeding frenzy,” says Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, a job site. College grads “kind of seem like a pot of gold.”

It’s no wonder. In April, there were 11.4 million job openings, not far below the prior month’s record high, and roughly two vacancies for each unemployed person. Although many Americans streamed back into a sizzling job market as the pandemic eases, others are sidelined by COVID-19 fears or child care responsibilities or cushioned by cash reserves built up during the health crisis.

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