OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Job seekers who restrict the hunt to a particular industry often overlook organizations that could use their skills, according to recruiters at several large companies.

“We don’t just hire scientists and engineers,” said Jeff Todd, a senior recruiter at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, one of 50 companies with the help wanted sign out at Laney College on Friday.

Airlines, telecommunications companies and scientific research organizations rely on a full range of support staff to carry out their missions. Todd said the biofuel and cancer research at the lab run by the University of California is no different.

“We’re an organization about science,” Todd said, but the 200 openings include positions in finance, human resources, employee health and safety and facilities management.

“We hire all across the lab,” he said, particularly as they expand to a second campus.

Recruiters at Comcast, Pacific Gas and Electric and Southwest Airlines told similar stories.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

A job working with chemicals was exactly what Sean Searight hoped to find based on skills developed in the Army Reserve. The 19-year-old was undaunted by Alameda County’s 10.3 percent unemployment rate as he toted a backpack with five different versions of his resume from one table to the next in search of his dream job.

“There’s jobs out there. Somebody will hire you. Just have the qualifications and the drive and the heart,” he said.

Searight said persistence and timing were also key. “Basically you just have to do the right thing and be there at the right time.”

Federal statistics out Friday support Searight’s optimism. The Labor Department said unemployment fell in 39 states, although the drop in California was modest.

The state added 8,900 jobs and the jobless rate dropped a tenth of a percent to 11.9 percent. In contrast, the nation as a whole gained 244,000 jobs in April.

California needs to add about 12,500 jobs a month just to keep up with new entrants to the labor force.

The state gained jobs in manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality. It lost jobs in construction and financial activities.

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