Students explore career paths at job fair

Daily Sundial

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Students and alumni got a chance to explore different career paths on Monday by talking to more than 100 job recruiters, many of them local and some from as far away as Las Vegas, at a fall job fair in the University Student Union, sponsored by the CSUN Career Center.

“We have one of the largest job fairs in the area,” said Patricia Gaynor, employer relations coordinator for the Career Center. “It might be small this year compared to other years, but we get big names like 20th Century Fox and NBC/Universal because they’re in our backyard.”

The job fair, which was held in the Northridge Center of the USU, was open to everyone, although the educational degree levels varied for different industries, some requiring bachelor of art or science degrees and others looking strictly for individuals with doctorates. The one thing common among them was that many were not looking for current undergraduate students, except for the purpose of internship recruitment.

“This is our second year coming back to this job fair,” said Lisa Bashist, NBC/Universal college relations manager. “We get some really great interns at CSUN. It’s a diverse campus, and we look to all majors. We get a lot and film and media studies majors, but we have internships in everything. We are not here looking for full-time employees. It’s good experience in the long term for students.”

In an area set aside for technical jobs, representatives set up booths from industries such as engineering, aviation and aerospace. Companies such as Anheuser Busch and engineering firms like Edwards Air Force Base Flight Testing Center were accepting resumes.

“We are looking for engineers with at least four years of college, and we’ll always take higher,” said Linda Gutman, human resources specialist for Edwards Air Force Base. “We are under the Department of Defense, but I must stress (that) these are non-military jobs.

“It’s hard to recruit because we are in a very remote area,” she added. “We come to CSUN because lots of students here have heard of us.”

Many potential employers stressed the importance of an educated workforce, not only to increase employee pay, but also to have a well-educated society as a whole.

Many of the large employers, such as Washington Mutual and 21st Century Insurance, offer incentives like reimbursements for tuition for students interested in pursuing advanced degrees.

“Most students think they need to have business or accounting degrees to climb the ladder in the insurance industry, we prefer they don’t,” said Meghan Johnson, a recruiting specialist from 21st Century Insurance. “No experience in the insurance industry is needed to work for us, and we’re open to all majors. What we do is pay for students pursuing graduate courses in areas that are job-related.”

Law enforcement agencies from all over Southern California and Nevada showed up at the fair, stressing the importance of college.

Officers from the Las Vegas Police Department explained the benefits, such as cheap housing costs, of joining its ranks. The Los Angeles Airport Police also explained how rewarding a career in law enforcement could be for students.

“A college degree is very important to have, and having one coupled with standard peace officer training makes better officers,” said LAX police officer Devin Staten. “I would say that about 50 percent of officers have four-year degrees. I personally have mine in criminal studies, but I know officers that have them in English and public relations. Several I know have their master’s (degrees).”

Dean Lee can be reached at city@sundial.csun.edu.