Credit: Deanna Nguyen / Mustang News

One night while her mom was visiting, English sophomore Lizzy Stavros ended up on the hunt for Italian food. While she originally wanted to find a good restaurant with seafood linguini, she ended up coming out of the evening with a hosting job at Buona Tavola. 

Stavros, like many other Cal Poly students working to pay for groceries and other expenses, spent around a week searching for a job, but was rejected in the past when interviewers heard about her limited availability over holidays. 

“The thing with restaurants is that their busiest days are holidays,” Stavros said.

Going into her job at Buona Tavola, Stavros committed to only going home for only a week during winter break to make herself more available. 

While she ultimately got the job, she had also previously applied and interviewed at Olive Garden where she was denied.  

“I didn’t get the job because I didn’t have that serving experience they were looking for,” Stavros said.

Previous serving experience is something that many employers look at while going through their hiring roster. 

“Training servers can be up to a month-long process that many restaurants won’t take on when hiring a part time employee,” mechanical engineering sophomore Triton Johnson said.

Fortunately for Johnson, he began the job search process with nearly a year of previous serving experience. He went through a two step interview process at Finney’s Crafthouse, a family run tavern in San Luis Obispo, where he’s now serving eight to 12 hours a week. 

Another challenge Cal Poly students face when looking for part time work is the delayed timing of the quarter system. Other schools like San Luis Obispo High School and Cuesta College started on Aug. 17 and on Aug. 14, respectively, while Cal Poly students started on Sept. 21.

“You have people here in mid August that are applying to the same places with the same experience, but they beat you to it,”  Johnson said.

In order to combat this, he began his job hunt in late July after moving into his house.

Students with packed schedules are also at a disadvantage when looking for work. 

“Based on my experience getting jobs in the past, you have to have pretty flexible availability to get a job,” city planning management sophomore Xan Tassos said.

His strategy to get a part time job in San Luis Obispo was by having a connection with the chain restaurant he previously worked at. Tassos began his job at Eureka, a modern burger restaurant, in Santa Barbara last July and was able to transfer to the San Luis Obispo location this September. 

“[Eureka] had all [my] information in the system,” Tassos said. “I just had to login to my account.”

Having this prior affiliation with Eureka allowed for his drawbacks, such as having limited serving experience and availability, to be overlooked in the interview process. Tassos is now hosting at Eureka for 15 hours a week. 

“When looking for a job in San Luis Obispo, checking out sites such as Indeed can be helpful, but at the end of the day, going into the establishment and making those connections and/or compromises is what employers are looking for,” Johnson said.