March 16, 2005

Major-specific career services give students an edge

Finding a job after graduation is a daunting task, and sometimes just having the right connections can make all the difference in the “real” world.

Cecilia “Cici” Mattiuzzi, the director of Career Services for the College of Engineering and Computer Science, helps students make those connections with a vast database of more than 4,000 contacts in the industry, most of whom are alumni. Linking students to people in the community is one of the most important aspects of her work, Mattiuzzi says.

The market for engineers and computer science majors has recently “turned around with a vengeance” for the first time since Sept. 11 says Mattiuzzi, as evidenced by the extensive list of 70-80 companies attending the upcoming career day for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. One of the largest employers in the Sacramento region—Intel—will be attending for the first time in five years. The College of Engineering and Computer Sciences Career Day will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 18 in the University Union.

Mattiuzzi’s position is unique at the University because it offers career services that are specific to engineering and computer science majors. Mattiuzzi recently published The Ultimate Career Planning Manual, a book on career planning for technical majors which is being used for the five career planning classes she teaches.

In addition to teaching career classes, workshops and working with students one-on-one, Mattiuzzi operates the career website for the College, which receives about 45,000 hits a year.

The website, ecs.csus.edu/career, contains several links for students and alumni. The website lists current jobs, allows students to post and view resumes, and contains salary information, hiring contacts and phone numbers. It also offers occupational information, resume and interview help, and several articles with topics like “Who gets hired?” and “Bad times don’t last forever.”

One of the most popular links on the website is the Interview Advantage System, which allows users to either search the database for information about interviews or to enter information about an interview experience they had.

Mattiuzzi used to receive letters from alumni with tips for students about what to study before they went into an interview and what questions they asked. She would read the letters to her classes, until one day a student approached her and suggested she automate the information online. The student developed a program to automate the information, and Mattiuzzi placed it on her website.

The program allows users to select the name of a corporation, such as Aerojet or Lawrence Livermore Lab, and to select their major. Matching entries are then displayed, written by people who have already interviewed at the company. The entries provide the name of the company, the job they were interviewing for, the level of difficulty of the interview, what questions they were asked during the interview, what class materials would be helpful to study before the interview, and general tips.

It is this type of support and networking that Mattiuzzi says gives Sacramento State graduates an edge and helps them to be more competitive with graduates of other universities.

“Students who go to Sacramento State work incredibly hard," Mattiuzzi said. “It is interesting to see people go from kids with cutoff jeans to professionals. There are so many opportunities in this region, and Sacramento State is a wonderful place to go to school, do internships and get real-world experience.”

####

California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu