SF State News {University Communications}

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Preparation key in job searches

March 13, 2009 -- Career Center Director Jack Brewer knows to expect a rush of students seeking jobs just after Commencement. But with a tight job market, and fewer employers recruiting for entry-level positions, Brewer has advice for immediate graduates and future job seekers: start now.

Photo of a man using a computer in the Career Center.

Students are encouraged to use resources such as the SF State job bank to aid in employment searches. Photo by Soyary Sunthorn.

"We're trying to educate students to the reality of the situation and get them to start preparing for job searches as early as possible," Brewer said. "For those who have more time, we suggest internships or part-time jobs that are relevant to their career to build skills that will make them employable down the road."

A recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that hiring of recent graduates this spring will decrease about 22 percent from a year ago. That will mean a more competitive job market and an added emphasis on having polished resumes and efficient job hunting skills before receiving a diploma.

To help students prepare for the employment hunt, the Career Center has tripled the number of workshops it offers. The workshops cover such topics as refining interview skills, using job fairs, streamlining resumes and securing internships. Brewer said a competitive job market puts more responsibility on students to be organized and understand what employers want in new hires.

Employers look for the same skills in a tough job market as they do in better times. Communication and leaderships skills are often at the top of what new hires should possess. Brewer noted that in strong job markets, it often takes approximately six months to find a full-time job after graduation. He said students with more time before graduation can be successful by being strategic with their time on campus.

"Internships, part-time jobs and even volunteering in an area of interest are the best ways to build and enhance the skills employers will be looking for," Brewer said.

The challenge for many job applicants is how to communicate qualities such as leadership and responsibility on a resume. "That's where planning, preparation and starting early come in. "Students have to think, 'what is going to be my first impression?'" Brewer said. "If they haven't prepared their job search skills, they need to start now to ensure that that will be competitive."

For more information, visit the Career Center Web site at: www.sfsu.edu/~career/

-- Michael Bruntz


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