Director’s Job Search Tips

            Do you know how to effectively conduct a job search?  For the majority of college students and recent college grads that answer was probably a no.  Well not to worry!  A couple of days ago I spoke with Dr. James Tarbox, the director of SDSU Career Services to ask him a couple of questions regarding how to strategically plan an effective job search. Dr. James Tarbox has been serving as the Director of Career Services for over seven and a half years and was delighted to share his insight and personal experiences that will hopefully make things a little less scary and clearer for us all.

SDSU Career Services: Where and how did you start your job search after graduating college?

James Tarbox: I earned my B.A. at Bates College, and received my M.A. and Ph.D. at Penn State University. My entire time at Penn State, I worked as a teacher. After that I was hired at Oregon State, but it rained a little too much for me, so I moved to Santa Cruz where I taught at San Jose State.  Through networking I was offered a job at USD and twelve years later I began working at SDSU as the director of Career Services.

SDSUCS: What advice would you give to a recent college grad looking for a job?

JT: Come to Career Services before three months pass and our services are not free anymore.  Get connected with us.

SDSUCS: Where should students/ grads look for jobs?

JT: If you are looking for a job in San Diego, check out government jobs, jobs in health care, hospitality, even retail-like managerial positions, for example at Target, Home Depot and Enterprise.  They all have good manager training programs.  Even look into finance/banking.  It all depends on where you want to go.  Start-up companies and small businesses offer some great opportunities, although not traditional.

SDSUCS:  How did you land the job as the Director of SDSU Career Services?

JT: I was actually referred by many people. Networking was key for me in landing this position.

SDSUCS: Can you share with us what you think students should know before they enter the job market?

JT: Approach the job market like you would approach college.  Learn as much as you can and have a great attitude about it.

SDSUCS: What do you personally look for when reviewing resumes?

JT: I look for if the resume is tailored to fit the job posting.  Some people focus more on typos, but others focus on relevant experience and training.

SDSUCS: What is more important to employers, experience or GPA?

 JT: From what I have seen from employers recruiting at SDSU, experience.  SDSU students show that they have a great potential and a good attitude about learning.  Even if you feel like experience seems miniscule it can show the initiatives you’ve taken and experience you may not have been aware of.

SDSUCS: Is there anything else you would like to share with students/ graduates beginning their career.

JT: Make sure you love what you do. For me personally my motto is “Make a difference in a person’s life,” and that’s what makes me happy.  Starting as a teacher and moving to career services was a big difference but I was willing to learn, and with this job I am always learning.  Do something you know you’ll love and last in.

Students and alumni:

I hope the wise words from Dr. Tarbox have not only helped you with your job search, but have inspired you to find a job that fits you and will be something you truly enjoy doing.  Having a good attitude and being willing to learn as much as you possibly can creates the ultimate duo in landing not just a job, but possibly the job of your dreams.

If you need any help with your resume or have any more questions feel free to come to Career Services! SDSU Career Services is open from 8 AM – 4:30 PM Monday through Friday and we have walk in hours Monday-Thursday 1 – 2:45 PM and Fridays 10 – 11:45 AM. Hope to see you soon~


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