It’s been down right difficult finding a new job. Still being stuck at the “Submitting many resumes but not getting any interviews” phase, I thought that this mornings job fair at the Alliant Energy Center would be a great opportunity. Meeting people! Making a lasting impression! Take my resume and remember that I’m awesome!
There were a lot of recruiters at the job fair. The conversations all went one of three ways:
Pleasant greeting, staying upbeat and talkative. Make great eye contact, gesture, positive body language. Then, inevitably they asked, “What kind of work are you looking for?”
I tried to keep my answers broad but not overly so. “I just finished school and I’m looking to utilize my communications degree. Human Resources, Public Relations, Customer Service.”
At this point they would usually shut down, stay pleasant but I could readily tell the conversation was over. “Oh, we’re just looking for production workers.” or “We’re just looking for IT or technical programmers.”
Smile, nod, thank them for their time and let them know how great it was to meet them, move on.
Same as before except that the booth is for a temp or recruitment agency in which they take my resume and let me know they will get back to me within the next couple weeks.
They direct me to their website to review job postings and fill out an application. The worst part of this one is most of these places I had already done that. I was truly hoping to leave my resume with a person who would take notes and remember me. I stayed positive. Thanked them for their time and promised to follow-up on their advice.
I brought with me about 35 resumes, I went home with 29.
On my drive home I thought long and hard about this job fair and my key take away points.
- I saw a lot of people who under-dressed. I spent over an hour doing hair and make up and making sure I looked professional. The number of job seekers in jeans, t-shirts and flip-flops was astounding.
- I made sure my portfolio was up-to-date and prepared, yet no one asked to see it. I’ve put a lot of work into that portfolio and I’m really excited to show it off, what a disappointment.
- A lot of the recruiters seemed overwhelmed or under-prepared. It was from 10-3 and I got there shortly after 12:30. Many booths were already out of job descriptions, applications and business cards. Either that’s a statement on the current economy and the unemployment numbers, or an underestimation of what to expect by the recruiters.
- It’s never okay to eat a hot dog while talking to a recruiter about a job. Just no. Walk away and hang your head in shame.
Job fairs, brag or bust? I certainly learned a lot during this one. But I don’t feel very positive about my job prospects because of it. Maybe it was my high expectations or maybe it just wasn’t the right job fair for me.