Students flock to job fair seeking enlightenment

While the Bureau of Labor report the April California unemployment rate at a record high, student confidence in the current job market is still running low.

But Arlene Karno, owner of Java Juice Inc. and a student at Santa Monica College, said that, "the economy offers a plethora of opportunity at this time."

Karno, as well as more than 60 other businesses, attended SMC's Annual Spring Job Fair last Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Drawn indoors into the cafeteria due to rain, the event pulled only a bit of passing foot traffic.

Celeste Bernardo, a theater arts major, noted that the event could have been better publicized, however "it offered a lot of opportunity and gave knowledge of what other companies are hiring."

Students gathered around several booths offering jobs at retail stores like Abercrombie and Fitch as well as food service vocations like Pinkberry. Jobs specifically targeting particular majors also drew a large crowd.

Media Temple, a web-hosting agent, raffled off iPads thus drawing in more students.

"We want to go to schools and start herding [the students] out," said Danielle Ayala, customer service coordinator for media temple, in regards to hiring students.

Ayala said, "Generally, [the employees] are all young. You don't have to have a lot of experience but you will learn about customer service."

The Career Service Center assembled a booklet listing current companies that are hiring as well as tips towards getting a job.

Marcia Lewis, Career Service Advisor and coordinator of the event, stressed the importance of how students present themselves.

"SMC has an excellent reputation with employers all over Los Angeles, but companies can now nit pick," said Lewis, in reference to the 12.6 percent unemployment rate in California.

"Students need to think about removing their tattoos and piercings, so they can be eligible for good paying government jobs."

She notes that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provide a program for students considering work in homeland security. SMC are behind the program and offer participants professional certification.

"About 200 students showed up for a pre-training seminar and could have been eligible for really good pay and benefits but were disqualified for visible tattoos," Lewis said.

Lewis encourages students to have their résumés reviewed by professionals, and suggests that they utilize the services at school because "students are at an advantage."

Karno's attitude towards the job market relates to many of the tips that the Career Services Center offers.

"I think it's about initiative, personality and time," said Karno. "If you are willing to work and wanting to explore [jobs] without a high salary, there are jobs out there."

For those who missed the job fair, the Career Services Center located in the Library Village offers resources for students in search of a job.

The Career Services Center is holding another job fair for the remodeled Santa Monica Place on July 12. Vendors such as Bloomingdales and Nordstrom are expected to be present and hiring.