By Joe Stein
Some people who live on their computer may be surprised to learn that Job Fairs still exist and are even thriving. In fact, this edition of WNYJOBS.com features a major Job Fair in the Western New York area.
As you sit in front of your computer sending out your Resume and passively waiting for a Recruiter to call, you may be wondering why you should even consider attending a Job Fair. The simplest answer is “why wouldn’t you?” especially if you are currently unemployed. In a situation of unemployment, you should be trying anything possible to find a new job.
There are some more subtle reasons why attending a Job Fair makes perfect sense, and they may be things that you have not considered. So, here are 6 reasons (and I am sure there are many more) reasons for you to place an importance on attending a Job Fair.
- Actual Time with Recruiters – It is generally accepted that when you submit your Resume for a position, a Recruiter may review for (at most) 20-30 seconds before making a decision. Compare this scenario with a Job Fair. In a Job Fair, you can actually speak to a Recruiter in a face-to-face conversation. You can also do it for more than a cursory few seconds (although you should be respectful of his or her time). Since it is a rare occasion when a Recruiter will pick up a phone and speak to a calling potential candidate, this is one of the only opportunities you will have to present yourself beyond a paper Resume.
- Good Conversational Practice – It is rare for a person to feel comfortable selling themselves in an interview. Unless you have that rare extroverted personality that is conducive to this, then only practice will help you get better at it. It helps to role play with your friends and family, but let’s be realistic - you still need to be able to present to someone outside of your inner circle. Going to a Job Fair is a great way for you to get some of this real world practice. You can try different “selling techniques” in order to determine what seems to work with Recruiters, and work on that all important “small talk” that can be so awkward at times You can do all of this without the pressure of being in an actual interview with a job on the line.
- Open Positions! – A Job Fair can be a fairly expensive option for an employer. You have the cost of the table, all the promotional items (pens, etc.), plus the tremendous cost of time (you are tying up a Recruiter or two for an entire day). The point being that these companies are generally pretty serious about hiring. It may be because they have multiple openings, they can’t find the right person, or they need someone immediately. All of these reasons can be viewed as good news for you.
- It is Efficient – If you are looking for a job, I am going to write something that you already know…searching can be a lot of work. You have to search online for postings, read papers, network, etc. With a Job Fair, you have all the Recruiters in a room…waiting for you! All you need to do is go to each table that interests you, hand in a resume, and start a conversation. In a couple of hours, you could have several legitimate job leads and the name of the actual Recruiter working on it. Now that is a good use of your time!
- Discover Something New – With online or paper postings, you are primarily finding what you are searching for. By this, I mean you are looking at certain positions, industries, or companies. With a Job Fair, however, you really don’t have any restrictions. You are free to explore and find out about different industries (perhaps a company you never heard before) or even a different career.
- It Physically Engages You – I mentioned in the opening that most Job Seekers take a passive approach to job searching. They conduct it from their home, send out resumes and wait for a call. Going to a Job Fair requires you to take your search off of auto-pilot. In my opinion, that is a good thing. For one, it gets you out of the house, which is especially important if you are unemployed. A Job Fair can also be a great place to network. You can meet and engage with other Job Seekers, there often are seminars that you can attend, and (of course) you meet a bunch of Recruiters.
If you think a Job Fair is a 1990s relic of the past then you are sadly mistaken and, unfortunately, missing out on a great opportunity. The next time there is a Job Fair near you, make a point to attend with a stack of your freshly printed Resumes, as there will be dozens of Recruiters waiting for you. You will probably find that a Job Fair is very much a 2016 thing.
As always, best of luck in your job search