By Margaret Hansen
Spring is coming and so comes the busiest job fair season of the year. Learn how to gear up for it and stay positive despite the economic news. Jobs still exist today and employers are looking not only to fill those positions, but also future openings. I recently chatted with JobsInRI.com Events Coordinator Neil Boorjian to get a better understanding of how things work.
When does spring / summer job fair season officially start and end?
The Spring Job Season official starts in January and runs until May. Now there might only be a few fairs in January and February, but March is when the majority of shows start. By June, the season comes to a halt with the exception of one or two shows. During the summer months, it's difficult to pull off any type of show, with the exception of outdoor festivals, home shows, and boat shows. Most Americans are vacationing with family or traveling during these months. The middle of September is usually when the Fall job fair season starts and it usually wraps up by November as the holidays approach.
How long have you been managing employment events for JobsInRI.com?
Just shy of one and a half years.
What did you do before that?
I was an Admissions Representative at Andover College. I would handle all aspects of the admissions process for a particular student. This means, signing up for school, giving tours of the campus, registering for classes, helping students field questions about Financial Aid. Basically, I would be a guidance counselor to about 40 students every two months. I would also travel to high school career fairs around the state to recruit students.
Have you noticed an increase in job seeker attendance this year? Any changes in employer attendance?
There has been a significant increase in the number of job seekers attending career fairs. And we've seen a dramatic drop in the number of vendors attending shows this year. This likely will spell greater competition for job seekers, all the more reason to stay even more on top of your game at the next job fair you attend. Due to our economic climate, I expect to see the numbers continue to fluctuate here and there for the next couple of months, maybe even longer. If the economy gets on its feet and a lot of green jobs start popping up, there could be a swing in favor of the number of vendors attending shows, and thus offering more jobs to apply to.
What tips do you have for job seekers attending a job fair, maybe for the first time?
Job seekers should always dress to impress. If you want an employer to take you seriously, you need to look neat and orderly. Job seekers should always bring copies of their resume to career fairs.
What should job seekers look for in an employer?
Someone who's standing up, dressed professionally, energetic, and engaging job seekers on a one-to-one basis. Their booth should be neat and representative of their company with a logo displayed in some form and at least some kind of collateral explaining their company and/or job openings.
What should job seekers expect to find at a job fair?
Job Seekers should expect to see rows of tables with displays and banners of different companies' names and logos. They will find representatives from several companies talking about the jobs that they are hiring for. If they are not hiring, then they are attending the fair to promote their companies' services to the general public.
How many job fairs should job seekers attend? Should they stay local?
There is no set limit to the number of job fairs job seekers should attend. Staying local is a good idea, unless they are looking to work in a specific region or field. And, in that case, they may want to search beyond their local fairs.