Katie Hofstetter

The latest study released by Cal Poly’s Career Services indicates a strong job market for recent Cal Poly graduates.

The study, based on surveys completed by over half of Cal Poly’s 2004-05 graduates, showed 73 percent holding full-time jobs with another 21 percent enrolled in graduate school.

“The economy right now is very strong so students are getting multiple offers, which is different than five years ago,” Martin Shibata, director for career services said.

Chris Williams, 24, graduated in August 2005 with a civil engineering degree and quickly found work as a design engineer for the San Diego-based Nasland Engineering.

Williams gave his resume to the company at a Cal Poly Job Fair and traveled to Southern California for a series of interviews before receiving a job offer.

“It was a hard decision because I got three or four job offers and they were all pretty similar,” he said.

Of those who completed the survey, 66 percent have a job directly related to their major, 26 percent have a job somewhat related to their major and 8 percent have a job unrelated to their major.

Shibata said the university’s polytechnic focus and learn-by-doing motto have made graduates attractive to prospective employers.

“It’s a well-respected school for sure,” Williams agreed. “We have a good reputation.”

In March 2005, international business graduate Ben Greenaway, 25, landed a full-time job as an assistant program director at KVEC shortly after he completed his studies. He said that, while Cal Poly has a solid reputation, it did not help him find employment directly related to his major.

“For business at least, I think most of the companies are looking for someone who studies marketing or finance,” he said.

But Greenaway said his business courses do come in handy in his half-programming, half-management position.

Students’ direct experience in their major fields make them more confident and proactive, Shibata said.

“Cal Poly students are the best in the state to begin with and they tend to be more motivated and more focused,” he said.

The study also showed that 29 percent of working graduates found employment through personal referrals, making it the top employment source followed by internet listings and prior employment at second and third, respectively.

Another 10 percent of those employed got their jobs through an on-campus interview and 9 percent found work through the Career Services Web site, the study indicated.

Shibata advocated for involvement in campus activities as good ways to network, because he said employers will sometimes connect with students through clubs or organizations, he said.

“Who you know can be just as important as what you know,” Shibata said.

The College of Engineering, which sent 84 percent of 2004-05 graduates into full-time work and another 13 percent to graduate school, boasted the highest average post-graduation salary of any Cal Poly college at $55,000, according to the study.

The College of Business followed with average annual salaries of graduates at $45,000, the study indicated.

The Orfalea College of Architecture and Environmental Design graduated the highest percentage of students directly into full-time jobs at 96 percent and had another 3 percent enroll in graduate school, according to the study.

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