Friday, April 24, 2009

A Career Fair Disappointment

Since taking early retirement in 2007, I've attended three career fairs to looking for potential retirement job opportunities. . While the first two did not provide any leads in which I was interested, I thought they were substantial and useful career fairs. The number of companies were in the 50 to 100 range and had a balance of employee and self-employed options. In addition, there were typically several major companies from the area represented.

The first two were very different from the career fair that I attended today. There were only 15 companies participating, and about a third were providing educational opportunities for a new career. Another third were primarily self employment opportunities, referred to as "independent sales." The final third were companies actually offering employment opportunities, mainly in retail sales. None of the major companies in the area were represented.

In a addition, I was not very impressed with the career fair sponsor. After requiring registration to view the list of participating companies, the sponsor would not send out the list until three days prior to the career fair date, leaving little time for someone to research any companies of interest. I was reluctant to adding my resume "to their database and get in front of employers attending the event" prior to knowing the companies. After receiving the underwhelming list of employers at the local career fair, I am glad that I didn't provide them my resume to distribute companies unknown to me.

Since the career fair was less than 10 miles from my house, I didn't lose much time attending. In fact, after I saw the employers , I changed my schedule and only allotted an hour to travel to and attend the fair. However, I did learn a couple valuable lessons:
  1. Career fairs that don't openly provide the list of participating companies probably are not doing so for a good reason. In hindsight, I should have realized that a good career fair would gladly provide the list of employers from the very beginning. Great participating companies would be excellent advertising, that a career fair sponsor would want to share employer list as early as possible.

  2. I will continue to not provide e-versions of my resume to career fair sponsors. I like to be choiceful about which companies receive my resume and personal information. At this career fair, I did not give my resume to any employer. Providing the information to a career fair sponsor would eliminate my control over who gets the information.

Although I will continue attending career fairs, I will now only attend the major ones, where I know there will be good employer representation from our area.

For more on Reaping the Rewards, check back every Friday for a new segment.

This is not financial, job hunting or career advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2009 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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