FUTURE PLANS. We’re still in Austin managing to withstand the cold spells. For two people who grew up in Arizona and Costa Rica, we get disoriented in temperatures below 40. It was 19 degrees here a few nights ago. It seems to warm up during the day. If it didn’t, we’d move somewhere else. If we get through the winter, we have a three month volunteer assignment starting in March at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, located in the very southern tip of Texas. We think this will be a dream job for us because we’ll have some bird guide duties and Arlyne will get to use her Spanish to assist visitors. We hope to practice our bird photography and maybe pick up a new bird or two. This should be a photographer’s paradise.
Thinking about that, we’re planning to go to Costa Rica for three or four months later this year. We’ll probably rent a small apartment near San Jose and travel around from there. We want to see some birds on the Caribbean side and the central mountain areas. We’re really looking forward to this.
TRIP TO THE SAN ANTONIO ZOO. While we certainly prefer to chase and identify wild birds and other animals, good photographs can be found at a zoo. The other day, we all (grandkids as well) went to the San Antonio Zoo. Of course, there were elephants and wart hogs and zebras and so forth. But, the zoo has huge South African and Australasian netted aviaries where we could see wonderful birds up close. We didn’t get a chance to identify all of them but since we can’t “officially” add them to our bird lists, I’ll just post their gorgeous images and do the needed research later. And I’m adding a few other animals as well. Check out how one of our tiger mother and cub pictures looks like on one of Alec’s smart phone cases.
The bar-headed goose is unique in the world because they migrate over Nepal, including exceeding 30,000 feet over Mt. Everest. They have special physiology enabling them to breathe and fly at this altitude.
DRAPER’S PREDICTIONS. Once in awhile, I make little prophecies about what is likely to happen in my lifetime, assuming I have several years to go. Here are some of my predictions:
- The first successful human clone will be revealed, if it hasn’t happened already.
- A nuclear device will be set off in anger.
- Perhaps in my kid’s lifetimes, top sports figures will willingly replace their natural knee joints, shoulder joints, ligaments, ankles or other body parts in order to extend their careers, and a new industry will be born. Implantation of small, powerful servos will be next and a new world record registry will be required.
- The first U.S. woman president will NOT be elected in my lifetime.
DAVID’S BLOG INSIDE MY BLOG. My son David posts a blog for his employer and I’m so proud of how he thinks and writes. He’s smart and funny. Here’s part of his blog advice to people going to job fairs, of which he hosts many. I’ve just shortened it a bit.
Looking for a job? What do you do?
Step #1: Go to Job Fairs
Go to as many as you can. They’re a great way to get a face-to-face encounter with an employer without doing a ton of work. If you’re concerned about seeing your current employer at a job fair, just be a bit careful. You can check ahead of time for employers that will be attending the job fair. The majority of job fairs don’t charge applicants money so be wary of any job fair that wants your cash. Employers are the ones who pay hundreds of dollars to attend, not you.
Step #2: Have a Plan
Don’t just wake up, throw on some jeans, hit the job fair, go home and return to your Xbox game while you wait for your phone to ring—because it won’t. Have a plan of attack. Know which employers at the job fair interest you, where their jobs will be located, and which employers have positions that match your skill set. Do a little research online about the company and the positions available. Most job fairs list the companies that will attend on their website, and those companies in turn will list the positions they are recruiting for. Most importantly, know your strengths and be realistic. Imagine you’re a Recruiter, what would you seriously hire you to do? What concrete skills and work experience do you have? Combine those real skills with what interests you.
If I had a nickel for every time someone told me they were a “quick learner” I’d be a rich man. Most companies don’t hire promises and they don’t want quick learners. They want people who have applicable previous experience who can hit the ground running. My 8-year old is a quick learner, but I wouldn’t hire him to do my taxes—I’d hire him to empty my dishwasher because he’s done that chore before, and he owns it!
Step #3: Polish Up Your Resume
Update your resume and focus on the particular job you want. There’s no problem tweaking your resume to appeal to a certain employer. Having multiple resumes, one for each position you want, is a great way to pinpoint your job search and make you appealing to different employers. Looking for a sales job? Then have one resume that highlights your sales numbers, commission history, etc. A management job? Have a resume that showcases your staff supervision, team-building, etc. There’s no problem bringing a few different types of resumes so you can pique the interest of multiple employers.
Step #4: Look Fantastic
On the day of the job fair, look your best, look professional. Wear a suit, wear a tie, wear a blazer. You know the look I’m describing, so do it. Trust me, you’ll look better than most people at a job fair if you follow that one simple rule of dress. If the job fair goes from 9am to 2pm, it’s okay to arrive at 10am. You don’t have to be the first one there, showing up at 6am and waiting in long lines in the sun, getting sweaty and wrinkling your clothes. This isn’t Walmart the day after Thanksgiving. Employers will be there all day.
Step #5: Make a Good First Impression
Smile. Be professional. Show your personality. Employers have been standing there all day meeting people, and you’re just one of many. Try to stand out in any way you can. I’m not saying be a freak. Don’t ask the employer, “What type of jobs do you have?” You should already know that answer. I know from experience that most candidates at a job fair walk up to a table with a dopey look and say, “So what are you guys hiring for?” Don’t be that person. Be the knowledgeable candidate who already knows what the company needs and is ready to talk about how they fit that need. Have a notepad or a tablet to take notes.
Consider trying something like this “Hi. I’m David, and I researched online that you’re looking for leasing consultants with a background in sales, and that definitely fits my experience. Can you tell me more about it?” Then listen, be ready to provide a resume and be prepared to describe how your skills and experience match that job. Basically, be smart. Be friendly. Be prepared. And be ready to match your skills. Remember in high school or college when you heard that that guy or girl you liked was going to the same party you were? Well, you showed up prepared, didn’t you? You changed outfits five times, you were looking good, you knew his/her name, you knew a little about them and you were ready to talk about all the cool things you had in common. DO THAT!
For every one sharp candidate, there are 10 people who stroll into a job fair, walk up to my table, the same table with a big banner that says Lewis Apartment Communities on it. Then they pick up a brochure that says Lewis Apartment Communities has Careers in Apartment Property Management. They stare at my banner, then the brochure, and then they look up at me and ask, “What do you guys do?” Now that kind of candidate makes me want to take an early lunch.
Step #6: Follow-up
Ask for the Recruiter’s business card. Shake their hand. Then let them know that you’re looking forward to hearing back from them and that you’ll follow up in a day with a short email. Trust me, if the recruiter likes you, they will contact you.
Step #7: Do It Again
After you’ve visited the employers you researched, just walk around and check out the other employers to see what they have to offer. The same rules apply: be professional, be smart, be friendly. These simple little things will improve your chances of nailing the job you want. Now, go find a job fair, follow these rules, and like my 8-year old, OWN IT. Best of luck to you!
Thanks for checking us out.
The Drapers, Bob and Arlyne