The other day I went to my first job fair. As those who have heard my tale of woe or read earlier postings, AAA Michigan gave me the boot in August after 23 years of service–and eight months short of qualifying for retirement. So I’m out in the job market and attending job fairs.
As anyone who has experienced a job fair, it is not a pleasant experience. The closest thing I can liken it to is speed dating. Only in speed dating, both sides are on equal footing and hope there is mutual attraction. At a job fair, you are already attracted to the company; that is why you are waiting in a long line for your 1 – 5 minutes of face time. You just hope the company’s representative finds you more attractive than the other 50 people still behind you in line or all those who came before you.
This particular fair was hosted by Right Management. It is an international manpower firm and was contracted by AAA to help me and others axed with me prepare resumes and search for a job. Right did a nice job and the fact that I am still pounding the pavement is more a testament to my sampling retirement, cleaning up some stuff at home and updating some current skills, than to the quality of its work.
Anyway, a portion of Right’s job fair brochure provided a good summary of what to expect (I bolded what I consider the major point):
“You need to have a different focus for Human Resources recruiters [at job fairs] than you would for hiring managers. They are looking to screen you out, not qualify you in. Your objective should be to show that you not only have all the necessary basic requirements, but are also an appropriate candidate for their work environment.
Consider their focus. Whenever they make a recommendation for further action, they are putting their “stamp of approval” on the person. The last thing they want is for a hiring manager to come back to them and say, “why did you give your okay on that person?”
They want assurance that company resources will not be wasted in taking the next step with you. Ideally, they should be able to visualize you as someone who could eventually become “part of the team.”
Words of wisdom that anyone who attends a job fair needs to take into account. It can help one prepare and help one avoid disappointment. And I suppose some of the information might also apply to speed dating .
That’s it for now, folks