The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Tools for success

The Career Center, located inside the counseling office in Rodda North, assists an average of 15 to 50 students per day. Photo by || Matthew Blackburn || [email protected]

An education alone won’t secure the careers students have coveted their entire lives. A professional resume, cover letter and successful interview are what makes an applicant stand out from the rest of the pack.

The City College Career Center has guided students with a variety of services that provides direction finding after-school jobs, long-term careers and choosing majors.

Given the competitive nature of the job market, according to job services student personnel assistant Poonam Kelkar, students who have little to no work experience are not prepared to compete.

“How are you going to distinguish yourself apart from the others?” asked Kelkar. “Sometimes it’s the degree combined with something extra that might pull you ahead.”

Kelkar, along with career development student personnel assistant Tracey Hodge, prepares students for employment searches by assisting in the production of a professional, well-written resume and a cover letter, summarizing all their best skills, accomplishments and unique qualities to make them more desirable to potential employers.

“When I am working one on one with students, especially when I am working with them on their resume,” said Kelkar, “when they see that end product, there is a boost in their confidence. I think they feel good about themselves because they get to see all their skills, abilities and accomplishments in a nice, polished format.”

To further instill confidence in students looking for jobs, Kelkar said that practicing mock interviews with a prepared opening statement, as well as discussing body language, what to wear and how to research potential employers before an interview helps prepare students for an interview.

According to Kelkar, employers ask situational questions with scenarios to look for job candidates’ abilities that do not typically come across in a resume—the ability to communicate well, both orally and in writing, being courteous and getting along well with others.

The career center offers one to two workshops per week in resume writing, interviewing skills and how to do an effective job search.

“They [students] really have to target their job search to their best skills,” said Kelkar.

According to Hodge, the workshops assist students with information on how and where to research employment opportunities above and beyond Craigslist, and allows them to access LINCS—a Los Rios-wide database for jobs and internships on and off campus.

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“You have to have the community and support like I had here—RISE [and] Career Center here in the counseling office,” said Castellanos. “If you use your resources, you can go pretty far.”

Castellanos, who grew up in south Sacramento speaking Spanish in a traditional Mexican household, said he had no desire to be a student, yet his sister enrolled him in classes at City College, and he purposely tried to get expelled by getting bad grades.

Thanks in no small part to the RISE center, Castellanos said he worked hard and raised his GPA from a 1.5 to a 3.95 before transferring to CSU Sacramento to complete his bachelor’s degree in Chicano studies with a double minor in art and women’s studies.

“Look at me. I mean, I never imagined in elementary school I’d be taking classes for a master’s,” said Castellanos, who is currently working on his master’s degree in counselor education and working three jobs—at the City College counseling office, the Sacramento State financial aid office, as well as his own business as a landscaper.

“Nothing is too much unless you don’t strive for it,” Castellanos said.

Now Castellanos uses his experience at City College and Sacramento State to prepare him for the future, where he hopes to complete a doctorate and teach at the UC or CSU level someday.

“He’s come a long way,” said Hodge who assists freshmen and undecided majors with self-interpretive personality assessment tests.

According to Hodge, her most fulfilling moments come when students suddenly realize what type of career they want to pursue.

“Yeah! This is what I was looking for!” Hodge exclaimed, imitating those students.

Hodge is also coordinating the career center’s annual Career and Job Fair April 18 from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. in the City College quad. Hodge said she expects over 30 employers to attend.

The career center in located in the counseling office in Rodda North, Room 147, and more information can be found at

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