There’s one thing Cal Poly graduates will want to keep in mind while hunting for their dream job this summer; be flexible. Chances are you won’t find one right away.
In the midst of a harsh job market, Cal Poly career counselor Carole Moore advises students to match their skills with industries that are flourishing now, instead of forcing the issue in an industry that they’ve had their hearts set on.
“This isn’t a doom and gloom situation,” Moore said. “There are still needs out there, it’s just a time when you need to be more flexible.”
Although some job markets are bogged down and have little work available, there are others that are having trouble filling positions. According to CNBC’s list of the 10 hardest jobs to fill in the United States, engineering positions rank No. 1. That bodes well for Cal Poly’s staple major: engineering, which accounts for more than a quarter of Cal Poly’s student population.
Other industries that have been less impacted by the failing economy include healthcare, nonprofit organizations, federal government and “green” industries. Accounting and finance positions are also widely available, due to lack of students majoring in this field, according to CNBC.
Whatever industries graduating Cal Poly students plan on heading into, if they haven’t already secured jobs in them, they need to be aware that jobs are limited and companies are hiring at a slower pace than usual. This means that students need to cast a wider net and take opportunities seriously, Moore advised.
On the Cal Poly campus, career fairs and recruitments have seen a dramatic decrease of activity. This school year there were 544 employers recruiting on campus, which is a dramatic drop from the 756 visiting a year before. The Job Fair that Cal Poly hosts during the winter quarter has taken an even bigger hit from 107 employers on campus in 2007 to only 41 in 2009.
“Students are going to have to be much more organized and much more aggressive when they enter the job market now,” Moore said. “Be prepared. Know everything about the company that you are interviewing for, everything.”
For students searching for jobs, Moore recommends using Web sites like indeed.com, dice.com and idealist.org, where you will find more of the nonprofit opportunities. However, using the Mustang Jobs link on My Cal Poly Portal is probably the most efficient tactic because employers are specifically looking for Cal Poly students.
“Mustang Jobs is really useful, because jobs are searching for you,” Moore explained. “Whereas, on other sites, you’re searching for the job.”
As far as dressing for an interview, applicants want to look professional and conservative. While professional and conservative are terms left to a variety of interpretations, Moore defined it as slacks and a button-down shirt.
According to Moore, the most important thing to establish right now is a strong networking base. Networking with teachers, students and previous employers is a good way to get notified of job openings and can often get applicants interviews because of someone’s recommendation.
“I like to celebrate every little step,” Moore said. “If a student gets an interview (or) if they get a second interview, those are things to be proud of, because they are steps that lead to getting a job.”