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Job Search

Are You Prepared for a Job Fair?

1st things first – do your homework.

Dress appropriately. Business casual at the very least. Bring a comfortable supply of Resumes. By comfortable – I mean easy to carry along and navigate with shaking hands, networking, etc. It’s no fun to be weighed down by too heavy of a briefcase or portfolio – or with documents that are unnecessary at this point. While there will likely be hundreds of pens at your disposal, be sure to have your own on hand for filling out anything requested of you during an event, such asĀ  registrations, raffles, etc.

Please, don’t smoke just before coming in and meeting (sometimes in close proximity) recruiters face to face. First impressions are not always just visual. Just saying. Take 10 deep non-smoking breaths before going in and saying to yourself “I’ve got this!”

Go ahead and carpool to the event, but please visit the employer booths independently. No one takes a friend or parent along on an interview.

Be sure you know who is hosting the event, and why.

Is it at a local college who continues to build relationships with local employers? Beyond providing this opportunity for their students and alumni, a job/career fair held here could be a good thing. Chances are that there will be familiar faces and repeat attendance by both employers and job seekers.

Is it being held at the employers’ own location? Well, at least you know who is doing the hiring. That company most likely has current and future job openings that they are eager to fill.

Is it being organized by a job fair marketing company? Well, they may certainly be able to attract attention of both employers and applicants. But chances are, they may not be so invested in the community, other than to fill exhibit space and hopefully attract job seekers. They’re in – then they’re out.

Okay -now you want to know what employers are going to be there. Typically, this will be listed on the event site, somewhere. Be sure to visit your desired employers first, but you never know who you many encounter. Keep in mind that a recruiter who is soliciting for candidates for specific jobs on that day – may also be aware of other jobs not yet advertised. Start a conversation and just ask.

And with what I’ve heard over the past couple of years – recruiters at these events are too often turning away actual resumes — yes, the same one you’ve worked hard on to perfect and for this purpose, printed on very nice paper. Recruiters are redirecting applicants to ‘apply online.’ So, go ahead and do so – but do so before the event so you can respond – ‘Oh, I’ve already done so and thought I should bring a long a hard copy.’


Wondering Why You Still Haven’t Found Full-time Work?

My first question might be – have you even considered a part-time job? I know unemployment benefits, if you are fortunate to still be getting them – eventually run out. They are to serve as a cushion of support, and I’ve had to rely on them myself at least once in my career. So, when they run out or even before – are you only prospecting full-time work? Did you ever think that part-time work can lead to that, if you truly apply yourself? And if for nothing else, for the hands-on experience you can gain and refresh your resume with: from new computer software to a new industry environment. It can all be good.


When I ask someone about how recent interviews have gone – and they reply they’ve had none, that is telling me one of two things. They’re not really trying and haven’t even put a decent resume together. Or, their resume is not gaining the attention or being sent accordingly to select jobs/companies.

Truth be told, and for the sake of this post – let’s consider you’ve had plenty of interviews with multiple organizations but still not had a reasonable offer.

Some reasons that are out of your control.

  • They hired someone or promoted from within.
  • Budget issues caused cancellation or revision of the job. (I’ve personally seen this on several occasions over the years.)
  • Organizational issues ended the need to fill the position.
  • The chemistry didn’t work.
Other reasons that you can have more control or influence over:
  • Someone else was a better networker.
  • The chemistry didn’t work.
  • You were obviously unprepared for the interview.
  • You didn’t project that you were truly interested in the job.
  • Your references didn’t support you.
  • You expected to fail!

Overeducated and Underemployed? Part 2 of 3


We continue with that same thought when we asked the following question:

“In your opinion, are people over-educating and should instead being pursing hands-on experiences?”

Most felt that particularly in Illinois, there just haven’t been enough jobs for the people seeking jobs. So, going back to school, volunteering or even consulting in your field(s) are alternatives to having to explain a major resume gap. A few years ago recruiters/hiring authorities were a bit more forgiving of employment gaps of a year or longer. That may no longer be the case.

And one company doesn’t necessarily mean another company will operateĀ in the same manner; nor hiring authorities within the same. For example, we’ve noted managers who refused to consider resumes of people not currently working. And another company whose owner feels that if someone has been out of work for a year is hungry and will work hard for this new boss if hired.

People are people. People, whether owners or hiring managers or outside agencies/third-party recruiters or even internal HR folks – often go with their gut. And that gut reminds them of experiences. Too often bad experiences. One where they started to empathize with the longer-term unemployed and took a chance on hiring only to have it backfire; finding themselves having to fill that role once again in short order – either because a better offer was waiting in the background, or the new hire just didn’t meet expectations.

What was expressed in detail in response to this question – was that a seasoned job seeker needs to understand that education is not an open invitation to a new job or a promotion. In one opinion – online degrees offer little value to an employer. Quality and content of the education is what matters, yet to varying degrees and along with prior experiences.

The cost of education isn’t always worth it in the long run. However, often from an HR perspective, or an organization that touts itself as progressive, intelligent, and sets the bar in certain areas – the college degree (mostly 4 year) will get into the YES pile and chances are – the experience only pile may not get a second look if the right blend of both is in their hands already.

Note: The above are opinions shared from others, and may not necessarily align with ours. There are variables in everything.

Stay tuned for Part 3 – Age obstacles

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