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December 16, 2002

Job outlook upbeat for CSUS graduates

Although the National Association of Colleges and Employers says the job outlook is not as strong for graduates this year as it was in fall 2001, CSUS has good news for its graduates. According to the campus career center, the job market is much brighter for CSUS students than for those at many other schools.

The association, known as NACE, also says fewer companies are coming to colleges to recruit students. However, Marilyn Albert and Eva Gabbe of the CSUS career center say there's been no decline this semester in the number of companies coming onto campus and actively recruiting new employees. Seventy-five companies are currently registered for the on-campus recruitment program.

"We're on many companies' 'A lists,'" says Gabbe, the career center's recruitment program manager. Gabbe says company recruiters are impressed with the diversity of the student population. "Many people here know more than one language," she says.

Gabbe says employers also admire the students' abilities to manage University classes, jobs, community service and families. "Employers are keeping us on their recruiting lists because they like the students' multi-task capabilities," she says.

This ability to multi-task is important because competition among new graduates has become intense. Albert, the center's director says, "Students are not just applying for jobs, they're competing for jobs."

This competition means there's an increased need for students to market themselves to potential employees, according to employment experts. Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director says, "Now, more than ever, students need to use all the resources available to them, particularly their campus career center, where they'll get expert guidance in conducting a successful job search."

"So get over here," Albert says. The career center offers resume writing lessons and schedules practice interviews. Albert and Gabbe both say the center hosts so many interviews each day that they are practically running out of space. The staff also gives special advice to graduates, including why e-mail addresses are important and how to acquire a contact name at a company. The center provides similar services for alumni.

Gabbe says the career counselors don't endorse any particular company. They also don't want students to focus on specific companies or job titles. Albert says, "We strategize with the students. We look at what skills they have and what they like to do." For example, if a student is interested in writing, the counselors will examine what the student likes to write and then discuss what industries or companies hire writers.

The center also heartily recommends internships and even started an internship coordination group. Mackes says, "Internship programs enable the employer and the student to try each other on for size, something that is critically important to employers in times like this, when they're hiring fewer people and need every hire to be the right fit." This is why Albert and Gabbe suggest students begin research early, even during freshman year. "This way we can have a continual relationship with the students," Albert says.

The career center staff has made more than 27,000 student contacts this year. These contacts include talking with students at career fairs, new student programs, student organizations and in the center itself. Albert says many students have talked with the staff more than once. "People know about us and are coming in."



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