Valley Works: Internships important in job search

FRESNO, Calif.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers says hiring managers plan to employ ten percent more new graduates this summer. But it is still a very competitive job market.

Thousands of graduates from Fresno State, Fresno Pacific and other colleges are flooding the job market. Many of those who are landing jobs started their search long before graduation day.

On college campuses today some students thoughts are on spring break, others are in the hunt for a job.

"I didn't know it was going to be this difficult, I didn't realize how many people were applying for the same job and how competitive it is right now," graduate Jason Kopper said.

The 24-year-old Kopper is beginning to realize just how unprepared he may be when it comes to landing a job in a region where the unemployment rate is above 17 percent.

He graduated in December from Fresno Pacific University with a business-marketing degree and admits he may not have been as aggressive as he needed to be in his search for a job.

"I started just looking around on the internet putting in random applications. I wasn't as consistent as I should have been," Kopper said.

Alicia Andrade, Director of Career Services at Fresno Pacific says students should start preparing for their job search as soon as they enter college and seek out the schools career services office for help.

"We offer workshops on how to write a resume, how to interview we also direct them into internship opportunities because we know how important it is to have that work related experience before they leave the university," Andrade said.

20-year-old Lena Oselsky is taking advantage of the mock interviews offered on campus, where she gets to sit down with real employers and hone her skills.

Lena, an accounting major is only a junior, but she is on her second internship at a local accounting firm, gaining valuable work experience. She believes it will pay off.

"I am hopefully hoping for a job offer by fall semester," Oselsky said.

Andrade says fifty percent of employers now hire students from an internship experience.

Kirill Sinitsyn is also starting his job search early. The finance and economics major landed a highly coveted internship with Goldman Sachs.

"It's a very extensive interview process and took a lot of research and effort just to get to the interview stage," Sinitsyn said.

Employers say that kind of determination is what they look for when recruiting college seniors.

Leslie Araujo, a manager with Target says college seniors need to take advantage of networking opportunities, attend career fairs and put themselves out there.

"Really what we're looking for are students that are very driven, whether its academically, or in leadership, whether it's in sororities or fraternities and making sure that they can bring that leadership aspect to our company," Araujo said.

Recruiters say too many college seniors wait too long, thinking a job will come to them.

Their advice is start early, mount a very aggressive job search and take every opportunity to put yourself out there, and be sure to get some job experience.

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