Geoff here – as Kelly posted earlier we had a pretty good experience at the National Urban League conference this weekend. The career fair (as they called it) was quite good, and I managed to make some good contacts for some local jobs. One HR manager we spoke to actually said she was going to hand carry my resume down to the head of the department. I would say that is a good thing. I also got some superb advice on my resume, and I am in the process of making those adjustments.
The NUL also brought in a lot of speakers to do workshops, and the one Kelly and I had a chance to sit in on was just fantastic. The guy is a recruiter/social media manager and boy, does he know his stuff. His name is Jim Stroud, and he has a great website as well as an informative blog. He is very outgoing, intelligent, and funny, and he hit it off with Kelly and I quite quickly. Man, did he have some great ideas about how to find things that we would otherwise miss. His ideas on using Google to find things, especially his ideas on using Boolean searches within Google, are just brilliant. Kelly (who is WAY more of a database guru than I am) was just hitting herself in the head saying “oh my God, why didn’t I think of that?!?” So now we have a lot of great ideas about how to improve our job searches as well as our resumes and our general web presence.
And we got all sorts of cool free stuff (known as “swag” for those of you who do not attend conferences of any kind) that was given out by vendors. We got a lot of nice stuff: reusable shopping bags, plus a couple of nice shoulder bags/bookbags; pens of all kinds; some notepads and notebooks; a couple of stuffed animals (Kelly was very excited about her GEICO gecko and the pony she won); some luggage tags and sewing kits; a scattering of handy little travel items like pill boxes, portable hand sanitizer containers, and little packages of band-aids or tissues or whatever; a rather nice water bottle; plus all sorts of stickers, magnets, pamphlets, brochures, and flyers.
After a very long and productive day at the conference, we headed to the Garment District, where I was killing time while waiting for Kelly and Leigh to finish their shopping. I have managed to find a lot of good ties and several nice suits for myself there, and thank God for it because the really nice lightweight summer suit I wore to the conference today and yesterday was one I found at the Garment District. Otherwise I would be wearing wool, and that would be killing me in this heat. Anyway, while I was waiting it occurred to me that I should ask for some advice on my latest Halloween costume project, R.J. MacReady from John Carpenter’s The Thing. Some of the guys working there had some great tips, and it turns out that one of them is such a huge fan of the movie himself he actually has an R.J. MacReady tattoo on his arm (he showed it to me and I laughed). So if I have time before Halloween this year to finish my costume, I am going to try to give that a go.
So today I went back to the conference with Leigh (who had missed it yesterday) and walked through the college fair part of the conference. Sadly there were not a lot of graduate schools there, but there were two vendors that I spent a lot of time with and who were extremely helpful. The first was the booth for ETS, the company that gives the GRE. Starting August 1st, 2011 (this Monday) a new version of the test will be offered. I did not know this. But the woman who worked there was very helpful and she gave me all sorts of tips and advice on how the test would be different and how to take advantage of the new test and the new study materials. The second booth that was really helpful for me was the Department of Education booth. The guy there was really, really helpful and encouraging about financial aid and assistance for unemployed people who are thinking about graduate school. So those two vendors alone made the trip very worthwhile for me today.
I wrapped up my day with a short trip to South Weymouth, where I was hoping to start the search for my Civil War ancestor’s grave and whatnot as well as some history research in general. I did find where the new library was, but it was not open so I will have to go back one day later this week.