Photo Courtesy of the Career Center

Landing a job right after college: strategies for success

By Aaron Coloma, September 19, 2023

Approaching graduation, Cal Poly Pomona seniors are poised to face a new challenge in navigating the job market. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 76.4% of 2022 bachelor’s degree recipients aged 20 to 29 were employed in April. This statistic shows promise for all graduates, but by proactively utilizing campus resources, students can take a step further to position themselves for a smooth transition into the professional world. 

As Cal Poly Pomona students look ahead to their lives after graduation, they should remember the Career Center offers valuable resources, such as career counseling and mock interviews, to navigate the job hunt with confidence. The Career Center aims to lead, develop and connect a diverse Cal Poly Pomona community in career readiness and preparing students for the future of work. 

Cherrie Peters, a career specialist at the Career Center, emphasized the importance of one-minute commercials, presentations that allow students to introduce themselves to potential employers at events held on campus, such as career fairs. 

“One of the main concerns, or issues, that we hear about often from employers is that students are unable to really project their accomplishments and what they are seeking, particularly at a career fair,” said Peters. “So, to really polish up a one-minute commercial or a statement about themselves, that is impactful. That’s what’s very much needed from students from an employer’s perspective.” 

Photo Courtesy of the Career Center 

Mechanical engineering student Chase Pellitteri addressed his anxiety toward his professional life after graduating college. Like many others, he turned to the Career Center for help to better prepare himself for challenges in the job hunt. 

“I’ve shown my resume to a couple of career center people to have them edit it a few times as my resume updates, and ultimately that was pretty helpful,” said Pellitteri. “They kind of helped me narrow down what I was supposed to talk about, what was gonna look good and kind of just overall make it look nicer because it was just a mess beforehand.” 

Samantha Madrigal (‘23, landscape architecture) shared her regret in not getting more involved with any of the career resources on campus. With a bachelor’s degree in a crowded field, she has had difficulty finding entry-level openings. 

“I would go to class, then I would leave,” said Madrigal. “I really wish I would have opened my email and actually gone to the career fairs, looked for more info on campus.” 

While seniors primarily use the career center, Peters encouraged students of all ages to come to the Career Center and create a plan for themselves. 

“If you use the resources early in your career on campus, it helps you to be most effective when you are that senior looking for employment,” said Peters. “If you wait until the last minute, you have to catch up on getting prepared, and that can cause a lot of delays in finding employment. 

Faisal Farzana (‘23, computer engineering) reflected on his early years on campus and held similar sentiment. 

“When I was a freshman, sophomore, I didn’t think too much about looking ahead, getting an internship, all that stuff,” said Farzana. “I guess my advice would be start applying to them as soon as possible, start seeing like, as early on as possible, common patterns in your field, what they’re looking for. Start thinking ahead about your career.” 

Farzana used the resources given to him and lined up a job with a rail company using his networking skills after graduation. Peters stressed networking’s importance and recommended students attend events hosted by the Career Center, such as the Fall Career Fair, for valuable networking opportunities. 

The Fall Career Fair is an opportunity for students to present themselves to potential employers for full-time employment, part-time employment and internship opportunities across all majors. It will be held in the University Quad Thursday, Sept. 21, from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. The STEM Career Fair will be the following day, Friday, Sept. 22, at the same time in the University Quad. 

Feature image courtesy of Aaron Coloma

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