California's High Unemployment Rate Impacts Students

This story was written by Catlin Cobb, The California Aggie


California's job market is in its roughest patch in 12 years, and students may be affected.



The unemployment rate in California for the month of August was 7.7 percent, the highest since 1996.



California's unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in August 2007, according to a press release from the Employment Development Department of California. According to EDD's monthly survey of employers, non-farm payroll employment in California decreased by 7,700 jobs over the month of August, bringing the total of unemployed Californians to 15,109,000.



Many expect this drastic increase in the unemployment rate to affect graduating students who are hoping to find a career in the California job market.



"It is a troubling time and students are going to be competing against people who have been laid off," said Nancy Tibbitts, career coordinator in the University of California-Davis Internship and Career Center.



Due to the high amount of layoffs throughout the state, finding a job has become increasingly difficult. Graduating students may have to work harder to enter into their chosen field or profession, Tibbitts added.



"[Students] are going to have to put their best foot forward. They are also going to have to look beyond their comfort zone," Tibbitts said. "[Students] might need to relocate and take a position that might lead them down the road to the career they are interested in."



Since it may be more difficult to find certain jobs with the California economy in its current state, students must be more open-minded to different opportunities, she said.



Also, students must be more proactiveand show companies what sets them apart from others, Tibbitts said.



"[UC Davis students] have demonstrated an ability to learn in a highly competitive environment that makes them stand out," she said.



Several students have already felt the effects of the struggling economy when applying for jobs or even summer internships.



"You just have to be more proactive and follow through on things," said UC-Davis senior Vanessa Filippini, who applied for a summer internship through an ICC career fair. "I had to e-mail them and set things up and go for it more."



Through her summer job, Filippini was sent from California to Europe to do additional work, she said.



"One thing the job really taught me is that there are jobs all over the world that you are qualified for, you just have to go find them," Filippini added.



It is not only undergraduate students who feel the negative effects of the California job market.



Graduate students receiving their MBAs are facing frustrations as well, said Kathy Klenzendorf, director of career services at the UC-Davis Graduate School of Management.



"It is going to be a tough job market certainly because of the state that California is in and the uncertainty of the U.S. economy," Klenzendorf said.



Students need to be realistic in their job expectations and be very prepared and proactive in this tight job market, she said. If you have realistic expectations, you have more flexibility.



However, college-age students might have more of a unique advantage over older workers who have been laid off.



"MBA and undergrad students migt be in a better position than someone who has just been fired from their job," Klenzendorf said. "[A lot of companies] want to keep a pipeline of fresh young talent coming in."



While students may be in a good position going into the job market, it is going to be incredibly more competitive, she added. They must get their foot in the door although their first job may not necessarily be their ultimate job.



"Students have to be more flexible this upcoming year as they accept a job," Klenzendorf said. "[Students] also need to take advantage of all the resources that the career service centers are offering them."



For more information and statistics on the California rate of unemployment visit edd.cahwnet.gov. For career information visit iccweb.ucdavis.edu.
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