Senior Pilots talk employment as they prepare for take off

By The Beacon | April 16, 2014 9:50pm
Photo by Olivia Alsept-Ellis

Olivia Alsept-Ellis |

Graduation is nearly upon the 2014 class. Panic. Fear. Tears. But then, a sigh of relief when the day finally comes. While every single student has all the reason in the world to throw their cap as high as possible, a few students are celebrating not the just conclusion of their education but the future that is already laid out before them. Cheers to the inevitable successes of these students and the 2014 class!

The internet holds the key

Jacob Alvord

Civil Engineering Student → Construction Management

Jacob Alvord, a civil engineering major, jumped right into the thick of the job application world. His strategy was to never stop trying and never stop applying himself.

“I did cold calls, Craigslist, searching on these websites -- it’s exhausting all your resources. It’s a matter of looking in the right place and finding it, by being thorough,” Alvord said.

Finally, (thanks to a savvy Google search!) he stumbled across the perfect job in the exact location he wanted: a construction company right here in Portland. Yet all perfect things tend to have a catch. When he clicked on the “careers” tab, he was disappointed to find that the company wasn’t necessarily hiring. All he found was an ominous link that asked him to send his resume there.

“So I did and I told them what I wanted. I was looking for a job in construction management and here’s my resume,” Alvord said. “They contacted a week later and wanted to interview me.”

After a phase of three interviews, spread out over a month, Alvord was was asked to join the team.

“This job is literally exactly what I wanted so I couldn’t be any happier,” he said.

Second chances in Austria

Leah Becker

English Literature Student→ Fulbright Teaching Assistant

The most important decisions about your future can be wrought with complications. But English major Leah Becker had to filter through the pros (and cons!) of staying in America in order to reach her decision to go abroad next year.

“It was down to the point that I was either going to go be a teacher in Austria or go to Seattle and work in food services again,” Becker said. “While I do plan on living in Seattle at some point in my life and I love America, I don’t want to work in food services ever again.”

The Fulbright award, on the other hand, will have her teaching in Rohrbach, Austria for eight months. In a town of 2,000, Becker will be working with students anywhere between sixth and twelfth grade.

“When I found out, I was at first super excited but then super upset because I had to make a really hard decision. So that first day was kind of let down,” Becker said. “But then that second day, I realized that I had to go and then I became really excited.”

Since she’s accepted her future, Becker said she’s realized all the opportunities the Fulbright has given her. One of which is to return to Austria, a place she hasn’t seen since attending the Salzburg Program in 2011-2012.

“I’m excited to go live in my second home again!” she said.

Exploring the business environment

Michelle Williamson

Marketing major → Administrative Assistant

After hunting for a while, Michelle Williamson said things were getting scary. But one of the most ideal options based on her desires presented itself, and she found it on Craigslist of all places. Next year, Williamson will be an Administrative assistant for the CEO for a small, local biopharmaceutical company. Her other responsibilities will be in non-profit outreach.

“My goal is to get some experience in the business environment and see if that is something that I am interested in,” Williamson said. “I’m definitely interested in that non-profit event planning that I will be doing. I have a lot of non-profit experience but it will be good to see that from a corporate perspective. Plus it’s good to get your foot in the door, make some contacts.”

She said that the year after graduation is still an important year of learning, and she’s ready to tackle all of it. But one of the ways she finds comfort is in the fact that she gets to stay in Portland next year.

“I’m excited to be in Portland! I love the Portland atmosphere and the relaxed nature,” Williamson said. “I think it will be weird to not be in school and become an actual adult. But I’m ready to explore these new parts of Portland.”

Still on the job hunt?

So, you’ve scoured UP’s College Central Network for possible jobs but were met with no luck. Heck, you’ve even bookmarked Portland’s Craiglist “Pet” Forum to try to snag any possible dog-walking jobs. That’s alright -- keep looking! Here are some websites to help you on your search:


LinkedIn is like OK Cupid but for the job hunt. If you haven’t heard of it before, let’s debrief it for you. Your profile reads like a resumé and so linking to your profile can be a helpful resource when applying to jobs. Many employers are already on LinkedIn and can view your profile. Likewise, you can search for work or internships using the “jobs” tab. If you’re at a complete loss for curating your LinkedIn look, there are eBooks or panels that can help you construct an intriguing and approachable profile.

Mac’s List

The List circulates through an exquisite line-up of Portland opportunities, ranging from internships at great local organizations or beyond entry-level jobs. Using the Mac’s List website is a breeze, because they clearly communicate the requirements and expectations of each listing. Make sure to press “View Full Job List,” because the 10 most recent jobs listed aren’t even the half of all the opportunities.


There are almost 8,000 listings in the Portland area alone, but Idealist spans across the nation. Make sure to utilize the advanced search engine, which can help you filter away jobs that don’t match your needs (or vice versa). The “detail” sidebar helps outline the job requirements, deadlines and other important information. Plus, there are traveling Idealist job fairs or grad school fairs that can help you make that connection in person.

Poached Jobs

Perhaps taking a career detour is the route for you, and Portland’s delicious food scene would certainly be worth your time. Break out that Food Handler’s permit and check out Poached Jobs Portland. Whether it’s a small cafe, swanky bar or hopping burger joint, Poached has some of the best spots lining up -- not only from Portland but from other major cities as well, like Chicago, New York or San Francisco.