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Posted over 2 years ago

The Hunt for Work Ensues

Having now begun classes, even though I’m still settling in, it’s time to start thinking about getting a part-time job.

I mentioned in a previous article that I have a strong academic background, but that that background never helped me land a job. I like to say that I’ve never been asked for my GPA in an interview. What matters is what you know and what you can do for the hiring company.

So instead of focusing all of my attention on getting the best grades possible, life has taught me that it’s essential to plan ahead for the day you graduate, as it will arrive quickly. Thus, my goal now is to find a part-time position or an internship that I can do while still in school.

Virtual Career Fair

To that end, I attended a virtual career fair today. We’re all operating in an ever increasingly online world, and although this was a new experience for me, I’m sure it won’t be the last.

At 11AM, I logged on the website and found twelve boxes on my screen, each with the name of a company and a brief description. I then had the option to chat with a recruiter from one of the listed companies. Just as at an in-person career fair, time is limited since there are others also waiting. Text chats were limited to ten minutes and recruiters had the option to video chat with you as well. Two companies asked to call me on the phone. I learned much more from the companies who called and spoke with me on the phone than those who strictly chatted textually, as we were able to squeeze so much more into the allotted time.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know what companies would be there until I logged on, which meant that I had to do some quick research online to see which companies I wanted to chat with. You also could put yourself in line with multiple companies at the same time, which meant that I didn’t know who would be available next. I was usually researching one company when another chimed in.

Although not perfect, it was a good experience. I can’t say that I came away with any strong leads on any part-time jobs, and making a real connection or being able to discuss how I would fit in with a particular company was all but impossible in ten-minute increments that barely allowed time for polite formalities; but I still learned a few things and made some notes about summer internship programs.

A Fowl Distraction

As I was preparing for a pre-scheduled a video chat, I started hearing some commotion outside my apartment window. I logged on and was waiting for the interviewer to join the session when I decided to get up and look outside. To my surprise, I saw a pair of neighbors and two animal control officers. I glanced back at the computer and saw that the interviewer had just joined the chat.

I sat back down and explained that something was going on outside and tried to apologize in advance if there was any noise. The internet connection suddenly started to cut out and so I don’t think my message was received. Then just as sudden I started hearing a flurry of clucking from beyond the window. Apparently animal control was trying to catch a chicken that would rather be left alone.

I couldn’t help but laugh. Again, with the internet connection cutting in and out, I don’t think the interviewer understood my explanation. She just kept looking at me with a serious stare as if suggesting that I wasn’t taking the interview seriously enough.

In less than three minutes she ended the interview. Obviously, it was not the impression I was trying to make. But these things happen and although that’s one job I won’t get, at least I came away with a funny story.

Practical Lesson

During the week, prior to the Career Fair just described, I spent some time reading about the history of real estate development in the United States and discovered the origin of a word I’ve used my entire life.

I grew up in New Jersey where one of the major roadways is the Garden State Parkway. There was a commonly asked question back there about why we drive on the Parkway and park in a driveway. Of course, we also used to joke about parking on the Parkway because of all the traffic. Well recently, I learned that the origin of the word parkway has nothing to do with parking your car at all.

In the late 19th century, the City Beautiful movement led developers to make communities more attractive through design. For example, they built more monumental city halls, libraries, and museums. They also built wide roads that followed the natural contours of the natural environment, effectively providing a WAY through the PARK or a park-way for residents to enjoy a leisurely Sunday drive.