Grads, get out there — the job market is peaking!

Posted on May 27, 2016 by Sonoma Valley Sun

By Joanne Sanders | Special to The Sun

Graduating from high school or college often means parties, gifts, and gatherings with friends and families. For those graduating from high school, it’s a time of transition to adulthood and for those graduating from college it’s time to get serious about a career. Either way, the pressure is on graduates to make pivotal decisions about their future.

It is crucial for graduates to have exposure to the working world. It provides valuable experience and helps young adults decide what type of career to pursue. Internships during college create valuable real-world work exposure, but often students do not pursue these opportunities. Coming out of college, employers now are looking for relative work experience and a Bachelor’s Degree to prove they have developed necessary office skills and work ethic.

Fortunately, the local job market is peaking. Whether you are looking to earn extra cash for the summer or kicking off your career, opportunities abound throughout Sonoma Valley and the North Bay. Young adults who can quickly identify the type of work they like find it easier to make decisions about whether to go to college, and if so, what major to pursue. Ultimately, like finding a soul mate, choosing the right career is vital to a fulfilling life.

The strong local economy coupled, with the lowest unemployment rate in almost a decade and so many job openings, make this an employee’s market. This means reliable people have options. Locally, we are seeing an explosion in service-based jobs for our tourism-based economy.

If you are just getting out of high school and unsure what you want to do with your life, spend the summer doing temporary assignments to learn about opportunities available and gain insight about what you enjoy. Locally, you can get exposure to a variety of work environments such as wine production, tasting rooms, wine warehouses, service positions in hotels and restaurants, food preparation, general office work, etc. Yes, these jobs are entry level but they are invaluable to gaining insight into what type of person you are. For example, are you task or people oriented? Do you prefer sedentary or active work, analytical or persuasive, corporate or small business environments? By the end of the summer, you’ll have a better handle on what type of job to pursue or whether your college major will fit with the type of work environment.

If you are graduating from college and think you want to stay in the North Bay Area, here are the job categories we see most in demand:

  • Local government
  • Healthcare
  • Education – teachers
  • IT/Software engineers
  • Accounting
  • Sales/Business Development

If college is not for you, no problem! There are many directions you can choose that will lead to well paid and rewarding work. Consider taking an entry level position and learn a new skill. Many local companies are desperate to find people with mechanical skills who want to learn a trade. These positions are frequently open in our area.

  • HVAC technicians
  • Machine operators
  • Set-up technicians
  • Mechanical and maintenance technicians, especially for high production wineries
  • Cellar workers
  • Facilities management
  • Hospitality managers including concierge, housekeeping and grounds-keeping
  • Food preparation and kitchen management

The United States military also provides many options for paid vocational training and for some a long-term rewarding career. The military path is open to those with or without a college degree, and could provide the way to achieving a college degree if that is your goal.

It is staggering how the local job market has changed in the last five years. College graduates today have options, and pay rates are on the rise. Make the most of it. Don’t squander this hot job market by taking a dead end job or a trip abroad. The economy will not be as strong when you get back. In the book “The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now,” author Meg Jay says it best: “With about 80 percent of life’s most significant events taking place by thirty-five… we largely either continue with, or correct for, the moves we made during our twentysomething years.”

Congratulations to all the Sonoma Valley graduates. It is normal to feel overwhelmed or confused about taking the first step. Your timing is impeccable if you want to get a summer job or explore the local job market. Seize the moment: go online and see what’s open. Get your resume together, your interview clothes and your transportation organized. See you at work!

Joanne Sanders is the founder and president of BOLT Staffing Service, Inc., an INC 500 Company located at 955 Broadway in Sonoma. 707.939.2800.

One thought on “Grads, get out there — the job market is peaking!

  1. Q: If the job market is “peaking,” how long are all those great jobs going to last?

Comments are closed.

Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA