His resumé and job interviewing skills are important to Louie Al-Hashimi. The Schar School Master’s in Public Administration student is also a 2020 Presidential Management Fellow finalist, a highly competitive leadership program that provides paid positions with benefits in one—or several—government agencies. Al-Hashimi, who can switch agencies during the two-year fellowship period, is likely to apply for several jobs in the coming months.
As such, his resumé and skills need to be polished to a shine if his career in the government is to be successfully jump-started.
But with George Mason University’s physical campuses all but locked down, the frequent in-person clinics to review resumés and practice interviews conducted by the Schar School’s Career Development specialists are on hold.
The solution? Take the clinics online.
“Professional development advising is a vital component of the services offered to Schar School students and an important part of the student experience,” said Jill V. Deering, assistant dean of student affairs. “Particularly in these uncertain times, we want to maintain our commitment to offering full services and continued student access. Webinars are an optimal way to bring these services directly to students.”
With the exception of a session on how to obtain a security clearance, none of the several programs were online, said Brian Bar, assistant director of career development at the Schar School.
“The other programs were designed as in-person events,” he said, referring to salary negotiation training, job interviewing skills, and resumé reviews. “The coronavirus situation necessitated us advancing our online webinar capacity and redesigning other workshops into a virtual format.”
Two of the programs will be conducted via Webex, a video platform the staff has used for previous webinars. The resumé workshop will be conducted over Skype for Business, which boasts a real-time screen-sharing function that allows Bar to actually, albeit virtually, make changes to a student’s page. Other than a webcam and a headset with a microphone, equipment is minimal.
“The Schar School and the university at large having access to the platform resources is what made it possible to offer the programs this way,” said Bar, who worked with Director of Career Development Duane Bradshaw in bringing the programs online. “In terms of the programs themselves, it took a little creative thinking and a good bit of reorganization to manage the transition.”
For example, the interviewing skills webinar has traditionally been an in-person workshop. “A transition to an online webinar will require some creative use of the Webex app and its functionality,” he said. As for the resumé clinic, “the entire program is predicated on the idea of a walk-in consultation, so transitioning it to a virtual format requires additional planning and outreach.”
But the work is done and online consultations begin this week.
Will the online version be as effective as the in-person visits?
“I think the comparisons are very difficult,” said Bar. “But one immediate benefit is that we’re able to put recordings of our webinars onto the Schar School web page, so even if a student was unable to participate during the actual webinar, they would still be able to listen to the recording.”
For Al-Hashimi, the virtual sessions may be useful practice for a new reality: online job interviews.
“I did one this week,” he said. “I don’t see any reason not to continue using these resources.”
Schar School Career Services Events
- Interviewing Skills Webinar, Wednesday, March 25th, 2020, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Virtual Event
- Virtual Resume Clinic 4/7, Tuesday, April 7th, 2020, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm, Virtual Event
- Virtual Resume Clinic 4/9, Thursday, April 9th, 2020, 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm, Virtual Event
- Salary Negotiation Webinar, Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Virtual Event