The State Worker

How to get a California state job: Leaving college with little experience

A crowd of students walks among the booths during the Internship Information Fair at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento on Tuesday, April 9, 2013.
A crowd of students walks among the booths during the Internship Information Fair at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. RBenton@sacbee.com

There aren’t many jobs that will pay inexperienced college graduates while giving them training for a lifelong career. There’s been plenty of talk in the media about that.

But California state service remains an option for graduates looking to get off of – or college seniors hoping to avoid – the parental couch.

The state jobs website, jobs.ca.gov, maintains a list of jobs ordered by the minimum education level required to take the state exam and apply. By searching the jobs in the classifier search page, you can confirm that they do not also have an experience requirement.

Here are a few jobs open for applications if you have a four-year degree and no full-time experience:

▪ Staff services analyst

▪ Editorial technician

▪ Disability evaluation analyst

▪ Corporations investigator / associate corporations investigator

Michelle Allen, a consultant for people who want to get into the state service, said inexperienced college grads usually need to start by checking their expectations.

“It's really what can you do for the state at that juncture … Basically, you're going to start at an entry level, but that doesn't mean you’ll stay there long,” she said.

Allen says young clients are often distracted by visions of a flashy job in the private sector, but would do well to consider the value of a state career that offers stability and comes with benefits.

“Even today you could start off as an office technician,” she said, “... but within a couple of years you could be a staff services analyst. By the time you're 40 you can be a manager.”

The first step for a college senior or graduate, Allen said, would be to take as many state exams as possible in a wide variety of jobs. College seniors can take exams that require a four-year degree before they finish, and then present proof of graduation later.

The State Worker has published a guide to the exam system.

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