Student Development: Career Center Guides Students and Grads Through Difficult Job Market
After putting away their caps and gowns, new graduates of California State University, Dominguez Hills are spending the summer looking for jobs in a challenging market. Fortunately, the Office of Student Development’s Counseling, Career & Employment Services offers services such as workshops, career counseling and the ToroJobs Web site.
Carol Bosman-Anderson, interim director of student development, says it is important to remember that the challenges of today’s job market are “cyclical.”
“Things will turn around again,” she says, “so a college grad should be looking for the best leverage and experience in a first job to prepare them for the next, better one to come. In some cases, ‘better’ is already hiring. While no industries are excluded from an economic downturn, certain career paths are faring better in today’s marketplace.”
Bosman-Anderson lists a number of fields that are continuously seeking trained and qualified applicants - regardless of the economic climate: “green” careers; accounting and other business-related fields; social work; and health care, particularly nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, orthotics and prosthetics, and medical technology. She also states that federal hiring is on the increase in general, with openings in a variety of career paths including criminal justice, intelligence, information technology, and the sciences.
“Our last job fair showed a significant shift in more government hiring from diverse agencies such as U.S. Immigration, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, and the L.A. Air Force Base,” she says. “The U.S. Dept. of Energy is hosting a career expo next November in the Los Angeles area, and federal stimulus money is spurring new public and private partnerships.”
Bosman-Anderson says that while college graduates rank among the most hirable, competing with more seasoned applicants despite their lack of job experience means that they have to be very well-prepared for job interviews.
To help students be prepared, the Office of Student Development holds workshops and networking events throughout the year. In addition, its Web site offers a number of resources, including links to general employment, internships, federal and nonprofit jobs, and entrepreneurial resources. Among the featured pages are the ToroJobs dedicated to giving CSU Dominguez Hills students access to employers who post internship and job opportunities directly to the site; and the Student Employment Services page that features guidance through every step of a job search, such as tips on researching employers, what to wear to an interview, how to follow up with a thank you letter, and how to negotiate a salary.
A feature on the site is the Optimal Resume, which provides resume templates and gives job seekers the opportunity to practice their interview skills via webcam, write an effective resume, and create a video resume to accompany it. Students can log in and participate in a mock interview with questions posed by an interviewer onscreen. A “coach” is available to give hints as the interviewee records their performance, which can be played back to see how they did. Students can reserve the use of a Webcam and microphone in the Student Development office.
Bosman-Anderson emphasizes the acess that Student Development strives to offer to its services. She says that students and graduates who cannot visit the offices during business hours should take advantage of its extensive online resources.
"Most print resources in our office are replicated on our website," she says. "There
is a link called 'What do I do with this Major' to help students match their major to possible careers, and also a
guide on preparing to go to grad school. We have resume samples, and guidesheets for securing your first internship, networking effectively,
and negotiating salary."
“In a competitive market, there are more people looking than ever before,” Bosman-Anderson points out. “Students need to have a strong resume and polished interviewing skills, which we provide support for.
“It may take longer than in the past, but it’s the well-prepared candidates who will get the job they want.”
Summer hours for the Office of Student Development are Mon.-Thurs. from 3 to 5 p.m for drop-in clients; by-appointment visits are welcomed until 7 p.m. Regular hours during the semester are Mon.-Tues., 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wed.-Thurs., 8 a.m.- 7 p.m.; and Fri., 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Joanie Harmon