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 California State University, Fullerton

 

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Michelle Chang
Vacant -

Given the less-than-desirable state of the economy, what advice can you give H&SS students?

Look at your resume… now ask yourself… ‘Would you hire you’? You have to see yourself through the lens of the employer. Your education indicates you are a strong candidate, but what else makes you a well-rounded potential hire? In many markets an employer may receive numerous resumes for a single position. Your responsibility is to set yourself apart from the pack. List volunteer opportunities, other languages you may speak, list your professional affiliation and/or campus leadership experience but more than anything else you must have experiential learning. Consider working as an intern for an employer of choice until you are offered a permanent position, this does two things: it gives you relevant experience and allows you exposure to your industry of choice until you land the right job. If you wait too long for the right opportunity a six month ‘hole’ on your resume can easily become a year which may be a red flag to employers. Stay relevant, and stay current. The most frustrating part of the job search for students right now is the number of postings that require a minimum of 3-5 years of experience. To be competitive you absolutely MUST have relevant experience.

What steps can students take during their college careers to make themselves better job candidates?

Internships, internships, internships! It’s all about experiential learning. Service learning and volunteer opportunities also complement your degree and are a ‘must’ to find a job in your industry of choice or to get you into a strong graduate program. With such a competitive job market the most successful students are those with multiple internships and community experiences. A good internship will actually ‘wash’ a less than stellar GPA. Employers want to see what you have done OUTSIDE of the classroom, that simple. The best place to begin looking for internships (and jobs) is on the Career Center Titan Connection, drop by LH 208 and we can get you started. Interns are utilized now more than ever; as businesses have scaled back their workforce to cut costs, use that to your advantage. Even if you are working full-time and carrying a full course load volunteering in your chosen field a few hours a week is a good place to start. You have spent too much time and energy on your education to forgo the step that will literally connect you to your desired industry.

Should students sacrifice pay for experience or industry when selecting a job?

Most H&SS students did not choose this major in order to pursue a lucrative career, so I take that into consideration when answering this question. Before you even begin a salary negotiation you must first have a ‘floor’ and ‘ceiling’, you have to know what you are worth and what it costs for you to live. Once you have determined that, I would recommend choosing the job with related career experience that you want to grow in rather than an unrelated job that you are not particularly invested in (as long as you can make enough to pay bills and get by.) The reasoning for choosing a relevant job over pay is that if you enjoy what you are doing you will more quickly move through the ranks and receive raises. There is a lot of upside in choosing a relevant job over pay. A job that doesn’t satisfy you and has no long term potential will not keep you motivated for long, and eventually the job choices on your resume will not be reflective of where you want to go.

Is involvement in campus/student organizations truly helpful as marketing tools for students?

Yes, campus leadership experience says a lot about a student’s motivation and ability to see the bigger picture. Your degree is fantastic, but to compete with your peers and stand out as an exceptional candidate look at what else you bring to the table. The same can be said for pursuing study-abroad or Washington D.C internship opportunities. In-and-of-itself it won’t get you the job BUT it does say a lot about your motivation and ability to immerse yourself in another culture and learn from the experience, which is exactly what a job is…. placing yourself in a new environment and learning from its culture.

Alumni have reported that not working during their college careers has hurt their chances at gaining employment. Is it better to sacrifice a higher GPA and have part time employment while attending college? Or is a higher GPA and no work experience typically better?

It depends on where the employment is… if experience is relevant to your industry, nine times out of ten an employer will choose the candidate with the relevant experience. An employer would rather hire a candidate whose education has been implemented outside of the classroom than one with a 4.0 GPA and no industry experience. I was recently meeting with a recruiter who categorically told me that his agency does not even consider candidates without relevant experience. The assumption is that they have not been tested outside of the classroom. In a job market like this, employers can be very choosy, and they are. The students in programs requiring internships are often not the ones we see in the Career Center after graduation looking for jobs; its students that did not work in their industry of choice that we often spend the most time with after graduation. Alums have access to all Career Center services for one year after graduation but my hope is that honestly … you won’t need them!

Can I find a job in the humanities and social sciences field with only a Bachelors degree?

ABSOLUTELY, you just have to know where to look. For help with your job search please call x-3121 and request an appointment with Debbie, I will be happy to get you started in your job search.

Resource Links

Job links through your portal

Check out what is available in the "jobs & internship" tab of Titan Connection .  Specifically, "Titan connection jobs" and "Nacelink Network" are most relevant.

Other Job resources

Other great resources