College grad seeking job JVS slates strategy sessions

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When Rebecca Novick moved to San Francisco last fall, she had been out of college for three years but was just beginning to look for her first "real" job.

Since 1992, she had lived in London, Israel and her Michigan hometown. She had worked during that period but knew it was time to settle into a serious career.

The University of Michigan drama graduate finally signed up for job-hunting help with the S.F.-based Jewish Vocational Service in December. She learned to focus her search and write post-interview thank-you notes. By February, she was hired as a development coordinator for the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.

JVS will offer the same job-hunting information Novick received, at a workshop for college graduates from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 25, and another from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28.

Each workshop costs $20 and will take place at JVS, 77 Geary St., S.F. The workshops are open to both Jews and non-Jews. Call (415) 391-3600 to pre-register.

Some figures bode well for job seekers. The national unemployment rate has been hovering below 6 percent for 21 months now, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

"But college career counseling resources are also dropping," said JVS employment counselor Becki Wolf, who will lead the workshops.

She continues to meet graduates from top-notch schools who have little or no practical experience in job-hunting.

The Bay Area attracts a disproportionate number of twentysomethings who decide to move here first and then start looking for work, Wolf said.

Novick was one of them.

At the University of Michigan's career counseling center, Novick said, the focus was primarily on finding work in large companies.

"There was no information or guidance on how to find a job in the arts or social service agencies. I think that's a real gap," she said.

The workshops will cover all the nuts and bolts of job searching. This includes:

*Setting goals. Studying up on specific careers.

*Searching beyond the newspaper's classified ads via networking, professional associations, personnel agencies and headhunters.

*Writing resumes, reference lists, cover letters and thank-you notes. Interviewing and handling rejection.

*Dealing with limited financial resources while the job hunt progresses. Considering temp work and freelance projects.

Wolf contended that Jewish college graduates are no different from their non-Jewish counterparts when it comes to job hunting. The only distinction, she said, may be that the Jewish community makes specific resources available to them.