A decade-old boot camp for job seekers has gone through some changes since COVID hit, but even the new virtual format can function as a learning tool, said the program's founder.
During the free, eight-week series, participants become familiar with the video conferencing tools that are used in many job interviews today, said Maria Themistocleous-Frey, president and founder of Executive Consultants of New York Corp., and creator of the Job Search Boot Camp.
In addition, the three-hour classes' remote format helps attendees become more comfortable with online networking events.
"Every single class has something to do with networking," Themistocleous-Frey said. "Today, more than ever, it's more important to cultivate relationships."
The ECNY Job Search Boot Camp Program, which was founded in 2010 and has been hosted by the Port Washington Public Library since 2012, is designed to boost job hunting, resume writing and networking skills. Registration is required and is limited to 40 people.
Classes for the next session start March 8, and the first class is mandatory, Themistocleous-Frey said. If participants miss more than one of the weekly classes, they are out.
"It’s a boot camp, not a day camp," she said.
T.J. Hoban, 27, a Port Washington resident who went through the virtual boot camp last summer, said the experience has made him "definitely feel better prepared" for the job hunt.
Hoban, an actor who graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island in 2015 with a degree in marketing, said the lessons learned have been invaluable as he continues to look for work.
"She teaches you all the tactics on how to go over resume writing and trying to get yourself in with head honchos," he said of Themistocleous-Frey, who runs the boot camp with support from other ECNY staffers. Themistocleous-Frey and her team have regular one-on-one sessions with participants.
Additionally, after completing the program, attendees are given access to monthly alumni meetings where they can continue networking and participate in additional educational sessions.
Mar Arslanian, a past participant, credits the course for her success finding work in corporate education.
"I cannot tell you how instrumental this program was for getting full-time employment," Arslanian said. She said the communal nature of the group served as a constant motivator through her job search, and the in-depth advice on how to effectively use platforms like LinkedIn were pivotal in her landing a new job.
Arslanian, who lives in Brooklyn, said the program was a helpful blend of mentorship, skill building and regular check-ins on the status of participants’ job hunts.
"I think what was fantastic about this group is that it became a community you could lean on," she said.
Registration for the program opens first to Port Washington and North Hempstead Town residents, on Feb. 23 at 10 a.m., and opens to nonresidents on March 2 at 10 a.m.
Boot Camp classes will take place on Zoom and will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the following Mondays: March 8, 15, 22, 29 and April 5, 12, 19, 26.
To register or to find out more about the program, visit PWPL.org/events.
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