Job wars – Life after college

Illustration of hands grabbing a Dollar sign wearing a graduating cap

(Illustration courtesy MCT)

High grades and a college degree don’t mean much in today’s hyper-competitive job market. Find out how to level the playing field with networking and other skills you can learn from the SAC Career Center.

With the national unemployment rate higher than in recent years, students are finding that the most difficult test comes after graduation.

Recent graduates are competing with their classmates, the unemployed, and college graduates of years past. Life after college turns out to be tougher than it once was.

“Graduating has opened my eyes to the reality that job opportunities are not guaranteed. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in my view is not enough anymore,” said Cal State Fullerton senior Rodrigo Ramirez.

Of the 500,000 students who will graduate this year, three in every 10 will land a job and the remaining seven will be launched into the pool of unemployed college graduates, joining those from 2010 and previous years, according to the Commission on Higher Education.

So how can a community college student prepare to get ahead of the game?

Interning or part-time work are both good ways to gain an advantage when competing with graduates without experience.

“Networking is important. You will need good references from former professors and classmates,” said Cal State Fullerton graduate Justin Hernandez. “Every job I have applied for is looking for at least four years of experience.”

Many students are unaware of the many opportunities provided at Santa Ana College.

The Career/Job Resource Center, located in room L-225, offers access to computerized and hard copy information about careers, training programs, job placement services and workshops. The Center provides paid positions with local jobs that are flexible for a student’s hours and a position that goes with their education, explained Sandra Arredondo, an administrative clerk at the Center. “For example, if a student is taking classes to become a teacher we have tutoring and after-school positions available.   We try to market as diversely as we can.”

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The Center also provides software that assists students with writing a resume, a key step in obtaining employment. “The services are free to students. There are so many people applying for the same job. We help create a resume that stands out,” Arredondo said.

With the help of good references, the Center and a great resume, the hardest decision after graduation just might be which job offer you decide to accept.

The Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, also Tuesday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to noon.

Illustration of hands grabbing a Dollar sign wearing a graduating cap

Illustration courtesy MCT

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