Posted on: May 13, 2015 1:00:00 AM
In: District, Cuyamaca
Contact: Della Elliott (619) 644-7690
A pitching bullpen is a new feature of this year’s East County Career Expo at Cuyamaca College, but it will be jobseekers, not the boys of summer, doing the warmup.
With as many as 50 employers expected at the college’s free job fair from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, May 20, Cuyamaca College and co-sponsor East County Career Center want students and the public to be as polished as possible before they begin their networking. Jobseekers can practice their pitches and get tips from experts in the “bullpen” in preparation for making that first impression with employers attending the fair.
Kate Miller, a career and technical education specialist at the college, said jobseekers need to get their “elevator speech” down pat – the one- to three-minute introduction of themselves and their key skills. And forget campus casual – dress for the most prestigious job you aspire to get.
“Even if the job will require coveralls and steel-toed boots, a blazer or tie might give you the edge in today’s job market,” Miller said.
Susan Roberts, business services coordinator at East County Career Center, also advises doing some research ahead of time and, when possible, submitting applications online, since some companies won’t even look at resumes without an application.
Go to the college’s career services webpage for updates on companies attending. Included among them are government-sector employers such as the City and County of San Diego, the U.S. Army and U.S. Department of Justice. The public education sector is represented by Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges, Cajon Valley Union School District, Grossmont Union High School District and UC San Diego. Private-sector employers include SeaWorld, Viejas Casino & Resort, Taylor Guitars, and PetSmart. Healthcare and financial services, as well as senior care providers, are also represented.
Lisa Rodriguez, a counselor at the college’s career center, which is providing staffing and other support to the career expo, said the job market is looking the best it has in years for community college graduates and students.
“Employers are hiring in all sorts of areas, but I have noticed in the last few months that jobs in the child development field – preschool teachers, for example – have become plentiful,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez added that being one of the few colleges in the state with a degree program in water and wastewater technology, Cuyamaca is the go-to site for job postings in the field. Her advice to jobseekers is to have a LinkedIn account and to join professional organizations for networking. For students and people in the community who have yet to enter the work world, the career expo is an ideal way to start making professional connections.
Customized resumes for specific jobs are also critical. One of the many services the career center provides is resume reviews for students, as well as workshops open to the public, such as one on resume writing set for noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 14, at the career center in room A-221.
“You should have a separate resume for every job you apply for,” Rodriguez said. “So update that resume and make sure it caters to the job you’re looking for. The resume is your first introduction to employers. Make sure it gets the attention it deserves.”
Roberts with the East County Career Center in El Cajon has additional tips that she suggests jobseekers practice at the “Polish Your Pitch” bullpen so they can be prepared and at ease when they head out to the company booths:
Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway, El Cajon, California, 92019. The Career Expo will be held in Room I-207 of the Student Center. Free parking for the event will be available in student lots 1 and 2.