Friday, March 13, 2009

Fair Game

In my continuous search for an elusive job, today I went to a job fair.

Last month I went to a "one employer" fair, but today's had multiple employers (more than 30 according to the advertising). It was held on the campus of one of the area universities. Because I wasn't a student or alumna of the school, I had to pay a higher admission fee, but I figured it would be money well spent.

I spent some time beforehand researching the employers that would be there, so I could have a short list of the ones I really wanted to talk to, then I researched those places and learned as much as I could about them. The last step was to come up with a list of questions to ask when I got face time with them.

I arrived at the campus 15 minutes before the fair was scheduled to start, but there was already a steady stream of professionally-dressed people walking toward the building. The registration procedure went very smoothly, and I was waiting in line to get in when the doors opened. My first stop was the bleachers at the side of the room, where I sat and perused the information I got when I registered. I was interested in about a third of the organizations there, so I highlighted the stops I wanted to make on the map, and in what order, before I started walking around.

Many of the tables quickly developed VERY long lines, but I was lucky. My combination of education and experience steered me towards employers who were more specialized and had shorter lines. In some cases, I didn't have to wait at all!

Every "interview" was different. Some employers were just collecting resumes, and some had a set of questions they asked. I tried to remember that they were evaluating me, and I didn't have a lot of time to make a good first impression. I think I did a good job at most of the booths. I found out that some of the employers I was initially interested in didn't have any need for someone with my certifications, and I crossed off some because they turned out not to be a good fit.

It only took me a 90 minutes to chat with all my target employers. There were still people coming in as I was leaving; I wished them good luck. When I got back home, I sent thank-you notes to the places I was really interested in, and downloaded job application packets to start filling out.

Now it's time to wait and see what happens.


  1. May God be with you in your search.

  2. Good luck - I hope you get a call-back from one that you were really interested in.

  3. There have been zero job fairs in my area in months and months. I'm not sure what's up with that. I look @ the job fair coverage on CNN with great envy [though I've never gotten anything out of a job fair personally - I am doing anything/everything to get a job].

    Best of luck!

  4. Oh, I am pretty sure I was there, working at a table for said university. I couldn't believe the lines for certain employers whom I could take or leave.! This year's fair was much smaller than previous years, I am told. I hope something pans out for you!

  5. KBO-So if I had stopped by one of the (two?) university tables I might have had a chance to meet you?