Personal Finance: Ask the Experts

Get advice on money matters from The Bee's Claudia Buck and a panel of local experts

May 29, 2013
Now that I have my college degree, how do I get my first job?

Q: I am a recent graduate of the Environmental Engineering program from UCSD. I need help to find my first job in my field. I have been applying for jobs the last few months, but have had no luck in securing an entry-level Environmental Engineering position.
Sim
Sacramento, CA

A: My advice to you: Don't get discouraged. It often takes longer than we expect to secure employment.

If you have never worked before in any field, you need to get some type of work experience. While you have an impressive degree, most employers want to see what type of experience you bring. While you are trainable as an environmental engineer, an employer will want to see what you were doing while you were in college.

I would suggest that you visit a Sacramento Works One Stop Career Center and have a career coach review your resume and provide you with some feedback. Additionally, if you have never taken a formal interview skills workshop, I would encourage you to take one. There are many workshops offered through Sacramento Works at no cost.
Visit sacramentoworks.org for more information about the services available through your local One Stop.

Lastly, I would strongly encourage you to find a non-paid or paid internship. I would contact firms that have entry-level positions posted and ask if you can intern for them on a volunteer basis. The experience you gain as an intern will serve you well in landing a permanent position in your field.

Many State of California departments have paid internship programs and I would encourage you to check out those opportunities with the State. Here are some websites that provide paid and non-paid internship opportunities:

Student Employment Opportunities with the State of California http://jobs.ca.gov/Job/StudentEmployment

Find Intern Jobs and Paid Internships
http://www.internmatch.com/

Over 500 Environmental Engineering Intern Jobs
http://www.glassdoor.com

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Meet Our Financial Experts

Claudia Buck

Claudia Buck is The Sacramento Bee's personal finance columnist. Read all her columns here. Contact her at cbuck@sacbee.com

Terri Carpenter

Terri Carpenter offers advice on job hunting, retraining and career counseling. Carpenter works at Sacramento Works Inc., the career and job training arm of the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA). With 15 years in the field, she has hands-on experience with everyone from first-time job seekers to career professionals seeking advice after a layoff or looking for a mid-career change. Ask her a question.

Carlena Tapella

Carlena Tapella is a partner in the law firm of Webb & Tapella Law Corp. in Sacramento. The firm specializes in estate planning and probate, such as estates, trusts, conservatorships and litigation. She is a past president of the Sacramento County Bar Association's Estate Planning & Probate Section. Ask her a question.

Kimberly Foss

Kimberly Foss, certified financial planner, is the founder of Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville. With nearly 30 years in the financial industry, her clients include women in transition, small business owners, retirees and "pre-retirees." Ask her a question.

Jesse Weller

Gregory Burke, a CPA and tax expert with John Waddell & Co. in Sacramento since 1984, worked as an IRS tax auditor for six years. He’s a past chairman of the California Society of CPAs. Ask him a question.

Daniel Tahara

Daniel Tahara takes your questions about California taxes. Tahara, a spokesman for the state Franchise Tax Board, has 10 years of experience as a tax auditor. Ask him a question.



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