With rising tuition costs and a competitive job market that requires a résumé, there are more reasons than ever for college students to get a job. Fortunately, Cal Poly provides plenty of resources for students to join the workforce, whatever the reason.
The university’s Career Resource Center is available to help students find short-term jobs, internships or careers.
“Our mission is to be here for students from their first day here until they graduate,” career counselor Carole Moore said.
Every day, Moore helps students make themselves more attractive to employers.
“We help students find internships, leadership opportunities, volunteer opportunities, summer jobs — whatever it takes to get the experience to find that job,” she said.
Moore said she knows times are tough for college graduates.
“I remember when we had a workshop called ‘Negotiating Offers,’ where we’d help students balance all their job offers,” Moore said. “We don’t do that anymore. Now we do workshops called ‘How to Stay Tough in a Tough Market’ and ‘How to Stay Positive.'”
Moore’s advice for students in a competitive job market: “Network with people,” she said. “Get out there and meet people — family friends, old coworkers, anyone.”
The Career Resource Center provides opportunities for students of all majors to hone their interview skills. Workshops are available on everything from résumés to dining etiquette.
Moore also recommends students engage in online job-hunting sites such as LinkedIn, Monster and Wet Feet.
“Even though it’s more social networking, Facebook can be tremendously helpful,” Moore said. “It doesn’t have to be just your party pictures.”
Another resource students can utilize is MustangJOBS. Available online for students through the Cal Poly Portal, the website connects students to potential employers. MustangJOBS offers opportunities across every major, as well as providing resources to help students prepare for interviews. The site draws recruiters not just from California, but across the nation.
But for all the resources that Cal Poly provides for students, there are some who are still looking for a job.
Sociology junior Alexei Ryabov has been on the job hunt since the school year began.
“At first, I was looking for an internship or job related to my major,” Ryabov said. “After I couldn’t get hired in that field, I expanded my search. I’m still looking.”
Ryabov said he made a mistake in waiting too long to search for a job, deciding to “focus on academics” for his first two years. Now, Ryabov said it’s almost too late, even though he’s taking advantage of Cal Poly’s resources.
“I’ve met with my adviser, I went to the job fair, I did my research,” Ryabov said. “But nothing changes the fact that my résumé is outclassed by most freshmen. And I’ve got to start somewhere.”
For students looking for a short-term job with flexible hours to put on a résumé, on-campus jobs are also an option.
Civil engineering freshman Chanel Collom had a leg up in the job search. Collom qualified for financial aid and registered as part of the Federal Work Study Program.
“Everyone wants to hire Work Study kids because the government pays 75 percent of our wages,” Collom said.
The program allows students the possibility to work off a chunk of their student loans — $3,000 in Collom’s case — by enticing on-campus employers through paying most of the wages.
Collom works 10 to 15 hours a week at El Corral Bookstore.
“They’re so flexible with our hours,” Collom said. “They understand that we’re students.”
As part of the program, every cent of the first $3,000 Collom makes will go to her tuition rather than her pocket, but Collom doesn’t mind. “Even though I don’t see any money I make, it’s nice to know that some of my debt is taken care of.”
Even after Collom hits her mark and the government stops subsidizing her wages, she hopes to continue working at El Corral.
When she wants to look for a job outside of campus, the Career Resource Center will be waiting for her.
“We try and get students where they’re supposed to be,” Moore said. “We’re here to help.”