Insufficient job opportunities for graduate students

CSUN alumna, Jasmine Betancourt, 24, who graduated with a degree in consumer affairs and a minor in marketing in the spring of 2009, said she meticulously planned her life after college.

“Graduating seniors have an idea and plan in their head of what their life is going to look like after graduation,” she said. “It’s just not that easy. There is definitely a shortage of jobs right now. It’s not a fairytale.”

Betancourt said her goal was to take some time to travel before she set out on her career path and to work as a wardrobe stylist or in marketing for a big corporate company.

Betancourt, who is currently working in sales at a local retailer, accomplished the initial part of her plan, spending a month traveling Europe.

After returning from her trip, she said she attempted to develop her position as wardrobe styling intern into a permanent position.

“I was not able to land a full-time position because the company just couldn’t afford it,” Betancourt said. “They said they lacked the funds to hire full-time staff due to the economy.”

A year after receiving her degree, Betancourt said she continues to job search and lend her styling skills to companies and various projects.

“Even though I graduated a year ago, I continue to intern,” she added. “ I’ll work for free for the sake of networking and meeting people in the business.”

Betancourt said that although it is not fair, it pushes her to work harder.

She said students should take advantage of networking opportunities like internships and fellowships.

“Students should vocalize what they want to get out of these programs and let people know they are looking to move up and jump start a career,” she said.

According to the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., adults between the ages of 20 and 24 account for 15 percent of the unemployed in the U.S.

Gregorio Alcantar, counselor for student financial aid services, said he often encourages students to attend job fairs and career counseling to better plan their careers after college.

Alcantar said that many students separate their college career from their professional one and that the ability to know how to combine the two is important.

“They (students) need a better understanding on how to pair up their majors and job outlook,” he said.

Alcantar added that he thinks the next year will bring more success in students’ quest for jobs.

“The last two years have been really difficult but I think it’s definitely getting better,” he said.

Alumnus Marcus Rosario, 23, said he hoped to get a job in the entertainment field after graduating with a degree in theatre in spring of this year.

Rosario said he quickly discovered the secret to establishing a career in the entertainment industry.

“You realize it’s about who you know,” he said. “All the people I know that have gotten jobs in the (entertainment) business got there strictly from connections.”

Rosario said he started to look for jobs as early as January.

Acording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are five jobseekers to every job opening.

“Everyday I would check out websites and just keep submitting my resumes,” he said. “I didn’t care what I did in the industry. I just wanted to get my foot in the door.”

Rosario said he interned for three years with AOL as a paid production assistant while studying theatre at CSUN. As his graduation date approached, he said he was not given the option of a promotion or a pay increase.

“I’m not going to sell myself short,” Rosario said. “I am willing to work hard and should be compensated for it.”

He added that often times college graduates are not taken seriously in the professional world because of their age.

“Honestly, besides the obvious decline in the job market, I think I’m thrown into the ‘college kid’ category,” Rosario said. “My job performance and work ethic had nothing to do with it.”

Rosario said he would have focused more on cultivating more relationships with people in the entertainment industry instead of relying solely on career websites.