More Graduates Find Work in Major

By Amberly Richardson

College graduates do not always get the opportunity to work in
the field they receive their degree in, but the students in the
graduating class of 2007 may have a better chance than their
predecessors.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported
college graduates will have more opportunities to work in their
chosen fields in 2007. Employers across all sectors are optimistic
about their plans to hire new graduates.

However, a larger number of candidates now have college degrees,
so even these optimistic employers will look beyond diplomas.

Seth Bernstein, a marketing and employer relations coordinator
and career counselor at Cal Poly, recommends attending the Career
Center’s job fairs and Career Days to get the competitive edge.

“According to our recent survey of Cal Poly Pomona graduates,
more than 30 percent of students say that networking helped them
find a job,” said Berstein. “About 20 percent used the Internet and
another 12 percent indicated that attending a job fair or Career
Day got them started,” said Berstein.

Student clubs are also a way to network and stand out from other
candidates.

Lack of experience was a problem for Heidi Cook, a recent San
Diego State University graduate, in her search for a position in
the real estate finance field.

“I settled with something else that I thought would possibly
lead me in the direction of my degree, or at least give me that
real world job experience that I desperately need,” said Cook.

This graduate’s experience represents a large majority of
college graduates who do not find work in their field, which leads
many to question the importance of a student’s major.

“Having a major in your chosen field absolutely provides a
competitive edge,” said Bernstein. “However, effective networking,
interviewing and resume writing skills are also critical to getting
noticed and hired by prospective employers. Just a degree is not
enough.”

There are many factors to consider when choosing a major.

“I think it is very important for students to think not just
about salaries of jobs available in certain majors, but to think
about the quality of their professional lives,” said Bernstein.

“Think about your interests and values,” said Bernstein. “How
will you balance your personal and professional life? Sometimes
this kind of self-awareness can help you narrow down your
choices.”

There are certain fields that require degrees in the specific
area.

“A major is of paramount importance for students entering
technical fields, or fields that require very specific training,”
said Bernstein.

Shawna Blackmun, a recent SDSU graduate chose her psychology
major as a freshman, graduated on time and found a position in the
field.

“I was lucky because I started working in my field before I
graduated and I was promoted within the company after I graduated,”
said Blackmun.

College graduates are met with many questions after graduating
and often change their minds.

“I was taking time off and enjoying trips and doing what I want,
when I want, but now I am starting to look for job openings,” said
Nick Eberhart, a 2006 archeology graduate from Cal State
Fullerton.

“I have thought about grad school many times and I might go back
later on after I save money to pay for tuition.”

The Career Center can help students make the transition from
paying tuition to receiving a check. According to its Web site,
students can view more than 1,000 job and internship listings, and
obtain advice about preparing a resume and interviewing.

“[Graduating seniors need to] be open to possibilities and use a
variety of search techniques,” said Bernstein.

Amberly Richardson can be reached by e-mail at
news@thepolypost.com or by phone at (909) 869-3747.

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