Sherman Oaks’ Andrea Sobel helps college grads navigate the job world

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rachelsulprizio90BY RACHEL SULPRIZIO

“Don’t drink and drive.”

That’s advice from veteran job recruiter, Andrea Sobel, to college graduates who are heading into the workforce.

“You’re not a minor anymore,” she warns.  “A DUI is a misdemeanor and you’re going to have to put it on your job application.”

This type of straight talk has served Sobel well in her over 20 years experience in the job recruiting arena.

Andrea Sobel

Andrea Sobel

Sobel started her own Sherman Oaks recruiting business, Andrea Sobel  & Associates, in 1984 mostly for informational technology professionals,  but has recently felt a pinch from the sluggish job market.

Instead of twiddling her thumbs and waiting for the phone to ring, Sobel decided to add a new type of client to her roster….college graduates.

“I wanted to take the skill set that I had and apply it in a different direction,” she says.

The idea presented itself after a friend’s son needed advice for an upcoming informational interview at an aerospace company.

“He called and asked me things like what do I wear, how early do I show up and what questions do I ask?”

Sobel immediately recognized a market in need, and new arm of her company, careerlauch, was born.

“There’s a certain level of kid that ‘s done everything right in college, studied hard, gotten good grades, but then they’re not sure what to do next.”

This was the case for Erica Sardi who graduated from the University of Southern California last spring,    with a degree in theater arts.  She wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment field but was unsure where to start.

As with most clients, Sobel began with her resume.  “The first thing I saw listed was babysitting,” she says. “We needed to restructure it so I separated out her entertainment related experience and her non-entertainment experience and we created a really smart resume.”

Cami Starkman, on the other hand, says she was certain about her career ambitions from a young age but needed a few pointers for her graduate school application and interview.  Starkman, who is a senior at Pitzer College in Claremont, met with Sobel to develop a game plan.

“We did a mock interview,” Starkman says. “And came up with points from my resume and experience that I wanted to get across to the interviewer, no matter what he asked me.”

This type of guidance feels natural to Sobel since she is the mother of 20-year old fraternal twins.

Her daughter, Dani, has dreams of medical school and, with her mother’s prompting, has consciously made choices towards her future.

“She has worked a couple of summers at a dermatologist’s office and volunteered at Children’s Hospital in the burn center. All these things are helping to build her resume, “she says.

Sobel describes working with this younger generation as both “an educational process and a hand-holding process” and often gives homework-type assignments as part of a marketing technique called branding.

In Sardi’s case, Sobel had her find a description of her dream job from an on-line jobsite.

“I’m trying to create a story,” she says.  “How are we going to get from where you are now, what you’ve done in high school and college, to what you’re going to do in the workforce.”

Eventually, Sobel wants to begin molding students before they graduate and even create affordable on-line seminars like webinars.

“This process that would be really great if one started in their sophomore or junior year, took the idea of branding and started thinking about internships, volunteer work or paid work that would relate to where they want to take their career.”

Regardless, Sobel believes her expertise is useful for jobseekers of all ages and says confidently, “If you’re applying online and it’s not working, then you need me.”

Contact Andrea Sobel at or 818-788-3369

Rachel Sulprizio is a Studio City resident and is currently in the journalism extension program at UCLA. She previously worked at KFMB Radio in San Diego. She has also written a screenplay called “Pandora’s Gift” and co-wrote, produced and starred in a short film called “Small Little Thing.”

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.