How to look for a job in a jobfair

Hi there. 

If you’re already at a moment in your life when you cannot defer more the construction of your career, perhaps a good place to start is to attend a jobfair. These events are more than crowded places where people get free bags, tags, pens, shirts and folders for free. This is a good opportunity for meeting employers who are looking for employees. And while this is confusing, and you might be afraid to attend, you should go because that is what is looking for a job. 

In the following blogpost you’ll learn about “how to look for a job in a jobfair.”

In case you haven’t attended to one of these events, the first thing you should do is to investigate if one is happening soon. If you are a university student, your university should have a “careers online” portal with options for students and alumni. If you’re not a student but wish to attend to one of these events organize by a public university, in most cases you’ll be able to attend. If not, perhaps the best option would be to search online for other opportunities. 

Once you have registered online, make sure to follow as many advice as you can from the same portal you registered at. Most often than not there will be one-hour videos with useful tips and questions from the audience. 

After this, you should prepare your resume. If you have been studying most of your life and you haven’t applied for any full-time employment, the resume is a first big challenge. This type of text translates your life experiences into a two-page document where you use verbs that can quantify any important skills or abilities you may or may not have. Use words like “deliver” and “result oriented” if you wish to impact the possible HR reader. Avoid mentioning that you are desperate and looking for a job. And finally, always make sure that your contact information is readable.

Once you have your resume and you have watched most of the online tutorials in preparation for the jobfair, make sure you have appropriate clothes. If you happen to live in a city like Vancouver, you should be fine wearing a clean shirt and pants. Wear colours that look good on you and feel confident. 

Arriving at the jobfair could be intimidating, especially if you realize that most of the people is wearing suits. If you feel out of place and wish to go to the closest bar to you, remind yourself you have a lot of education, you are like anybody else, and you also need a job. Enter to the fair. Inside you quickly realize that the event is way bigger than you imagine. There are two levels and there are people bursting from too many different directions. There is even a coatcheck, but you’re lucky because you decide to not wear a coat. 

As you enter the venue you can finally use your skills of small talk because you have watched How to with Jon Wilson. So you’re confident with your small talk abilities. 

Now it’s the time. You go to the stands of the companies you looked online. Those very same companies that did not show up when you added to the jobfair search filter the words “teaching” or “write,” two of your favourite things to do in life and things that you are actually good at and care about. Once you arrive to one of the stands of the companies you’re interested in, you realize you completely misunderstood what the company does. They help you get a job, they don’t hire. They’re looking for costumers, not for employees. You soon realize that the two other companies you were interested in are also looking for costumers. 

Whether it is because most of the jobs at the fair are not funny, or are in areas that do not interest you at all, or because you simply cannot see yourself doing one of those jobs, you feel defeated. After all these years of education you cannot drop any of the 5 resumes you printed into any stand. You go to the company that sells paper at the fair, but there is no Michael Scott that would recruit you. Not even the free merchandise uplifts you. You’re in a vortex and the suits and expensive clothes of most of the people asphyxiate you. You wanted this. And even if you already knew that none of this companies is looking for anything that you can do well, you feel exhausted and humiliated, drowning in a sea of opportunities. You feel that there is no place to go, until suddenly someone touches your back. A friend who you have not seen for more than 3 years is there. 

The two of you leave the jobfair. Then you have a coffee. She tells you about her life. Her parents in Delhi are getting older and older and the weather over there is going nuts. Schools are closing because of pollution, or high temperature. She returned to Vancouver to find an opportunity, she has a valid work-permit and has found a job. She was at the fair looking for a full-time job, hers is hourly rate, and recently they have reduced her hours. At one time of the conversation, you both agree that today there are more people and less and less opportunities. More hourly rate jobs and less fulltime employment chances. It all seems that is measured by a rule of less and more. Less time at the bar, more time at the pharmacy. Less caffeine after 4 pm and more decaf tisanes. More time at the screen, less time in front of books. 

You both seem to be depressing each other. But then, for whatever reason people is having a hard time entering the coffee shop. Since you’re sitting next to the door at the patio, you start opening the door for the customers both entering and leaving. After some costumers have been granted access by your server-reflexes when opening the door for them, your friend suggests that a percentage of the tips those customers leave at the café should be yours. Some customer overhears and laughs. Perhaps this could have been a job at the jobfair, or perhaps, you think, this is how you find a job: you create it for yourself. But then you realize that letting people in or out is not for you. Your friend and you laugh. Then you make both your way home. In the bus she tells you she’s been learning Indian astrology. She finds it exciting and wishes she had learned it before, perhaps by now you and her could run a business of Tarot and Indian Astrology reading. 

Once you are home and your friend is at a party she had to attend, you tell your girlfriend the best part of the jobfair was meeting your old friend. You were looking for a job but reconnected with a friend. You rush to your computer. Your online work is about to start. 2 hours later you finish your dinner. And while your girlfriend plays a lullaby with a ukulele, you realize that today you were actually looking for a job. You followed the plan. And, more importantly, you bumped into an old friend. So, it was a good day, and looking for a job was not that scary, it was indeed kind of fun. 

This is Ricardo García. Thanks for reading.