I was recently reading a post by Joe Stampone on his blog A Student of the Real Estate Game. The post was about his job search in the field of real estate. I’m not ready for anything like that, and am lucky to be fully employed while I continue my graduate school degree as a Masters in Real Estate Development at Auburn.
Joe’s post made me think of my experience of landing my first job out of college. I had decided before I graduated, that I was going to live west of Mississippi. I did some research which in hindsight, some is never enough. I contacted multiple firms via snail mail, phone and some web based stuff, but email wasn’t that popular at the time and was really just taking a hold in offices. I set up multiple interviews and visits. One such firm expressly told me that they had no openings, but I asked to come by anyways, introduce myself and maybe get a quick tour of their office. So on my spring break of my senior year I flew out to Denver with all the intent of landing a job. I was determined that regardless of what happened on this trip I would be moving out West and at the very least would get a job as a laborer on a construction site. I have experience framing and remodeling houses that could keep me working until I found something in the Landscape Architecture field. I was determined.
I hit the ground running out there. Visiting firms and going to interviews. It was a great experience. The one that matters though is the one that I “toured” their office. As they said when I set the meeting up weeks in advance, they were not hiring. The day I was there and had called that morning to confirm my meeting, they told me on the phone they were excited to see me. They were now looking for someone. I went in, resume and portfolio in hand and met with the Senior Project Manager, Craig Karn. Craig took my college portfolio, gave it a nice look over and then asked about my time at Kentucky. Craig explained he had been working with another Kentucky grad, whom I did not know. It was this connection, my timing, the resume and portfolio I presented, that I landed my first job.
I went on to stay at that job for 4 years and had a wonderful experience and learned more than I thought possible. Learning not only about Landscape Architecture, but people, relationships, working in an office and all that come along with it. It truly was a life changing and growing experience. To this day I still keep in touch with Craig and many of the friends I made out there. It was a great start for my career.