In a previous column, I mentioned that I was doing research regarding how to do job interviews. As part of this research, I recently attended a local job fair in the hopes of gathering more information and experience regarding the interview process and to hopefully find more writing work in my area. I was very successful in fulfilling at least one of these goals.
The fair attracted a fairly large number of job seekers. It was held in a local public building with about 30 booths and tables set up around the premises. My mother and I attended together and she explained how a job fair worked. She explained that I may have the opportunity for an interview at the fair so I made sure that I was dressed appropriately in office attire in case an opportunity did present itself. We pre-registered so that we did not need to register when we arrived which really helped me because I did not need to concentrate on filling out paperwork as people milled around me. We checked in and then waited with the growing group of other job seekers for the fair to begin. It did become a bit noisy, but the fair workers were very organized and everyone remained calm and orderly which kept me calm.
Each booth or table was staffed by a company, agency, or union presenting certain positions or services which could be of interest to attendees. I was surprised to see the variety of entities which had come out to the fair including some industrial manufacturers, a few local unions, and many social service and health care providers. Their displays showed what positions and services were available. I spoke to most of the representatives at these booths about what they were offering; they were all very helpful, and I enjoyed our conversations. Many of the companies were seeking people with backgrounds in math, science, engineering, manufacturing, and other fields of expertise. I, of course, was looking for writing opportunities. Unfortunately, there were no vendors in need of writers.
However, there was a table there that had an agency which helps people with disabilities. They have offered to help me free of charge with mock interviews. The agency’s representative gave me her name and phone number so I could set up an appointment for a consultation with her at a future date. She also gave me some pamphlets, booklets, and flyers with information concerning workshops and programs that the agency offers. I plan on utilizing these resources to learn the skills I need for enduring the tribulations of the workplace, using checklists for important information I need for job searches, and learning proper codes of conduct for job interviews. I am sure I will rely on them often as my employment search continues.
I was also very surprised to find some representatives from a local public library at the fair. They turned out to be especially helpful because, as I spoke with them, I found out that they also offer free services that could help me to significantly revise and develop my cover letter, resume, and reference contact sheet so that they reflect the qualities employers expect from job candidates in today’s market. Furthermore, I learned that the library’s computer system is available to me at no cost to search for additional writing opportunities in my area. I got the name and phone number of the library employee that coordinates this service. I honestly did not expect the public library to be able to help me in so many different ways relating to my career, but I am glad I found it and will certainly take them up on their offer of help soon.
I feel that my first job fair was productive and informative, and I navigated it with no problem. I learned a lot about the sheer variety of options for work available in my community and met many nice, courteous people. I also picked up a plethora of helpful materials and learned of the many services available to me in my area which I will utilize to help me as I move forward in my quest for further employment in the working world. I greatly enjoyed this experience, and I would love to visit more job fairs in the future.