Getting Ahead in a Slow Job Market

Job Fair (The Office)
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By Lauren Smith
Publicity Director/Lifestyles Editor

As graduation quickly approaches, those who do not have a job lined up or plan to attend graduate school, are probably feeling the stress of the inevitable job hunt. As fun and carefree as it would be to enjoy the summer following graduation taking vacations with friends and decompressing from the stress of your last college semester, the hard truth is that the current economy and high competition for jobs won’t afford such a luxury. As most career experts will probably tell you, the time to be looking for a job is now.

That is why it is so crucial to take advantage of the opportunities available to you at this moment. If you haven’t already, make an appointment with Career Services to look over your resume, take a mock interview, or to just gather as much information about the job search process as you can while you still can.

Another great resource is job fairs. Even if you live hours away and don’t plan to stay and work in Scranton or the surrounding areas after college, you never know what company you might encounter at a job fair that has positions or locations in an area where you would like to work. Or, if you don’t happen to find a company that interests you, maybe you’ll meet someone that has connections at a company that does interest you. The possibilities are limitless as long as you know how to market yourself and you at least try.

Luckily for those graduating seniors who are fretting about employment, two such job fairs are coming to the area. The first, Northeast Pennsylvania Employment Consortium’s(NPEC) employment and internship fair, which takes place on Tuesday, March 23rd, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre will run from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is free to all who would like to attend. Those who plan to attend can search the college central website for employer profiles and opportunities available at the fair as early as March 3rd.

If this is a day that many of you have classes, consider talking with your professors about allowing you to miss a class for the event. Previous NPEC job fairs included sign-in sheets for the participating schools, one of which is Marywood, to be turned in to professors so that they knew specific students had been in attendance. If that isn’t available, see if they will accept materials from the event as proof that you attended. As important as it is to not miss class, effectively communicating with your instructors and arranging to get the class work ahead of time will keep you from getting behind while letting you take advantage of a great opportunity.

The second job fair to come to the area, also at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre takes place on Tuesday, April 13th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is also free and open to the public and boasts 150 or more hires from the previous year’s fair. I spoke with one of the coordinators, Karla Porter, via email and some of the employers that have committed to the event are: Community Medical Center, Diversified Information Technologies, Luzerne County Office of Human Services, RCN, Scranton Counseling Center, St. Joseph’s Center, and WBRE/WYOU-TV. Another great aspect of this fair is that there will also be a variety of free job seminars offered to those who attend. Porter, who is also Director of Workforce Development and Human Resources for the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, mentioned, “Though we have no way of knowing what the actual number will be in terms of employer attendance at the NEPA Job Fair, we feel that registration has gotten off to a very good start. We are excited about adding a job seeker skill building component this year and invite all those interested in enhancing their search skills to attend this no-cost event.”

If you plan to attend either of these job fairs, here are a few tips:

  • Dress as if you were going to an interview. This means suits for men; pant suits, or a skirt and blazer for women.
  • Bring several copies of your resume to hand out to employers that have been checked rigorously for grammatical and spelling errors or any typos.
  • Know the companies that will be there and which ones you most want to talk to. Think about how your skills apply to the positions they are looking to fill and make sure you reference them when speaking to a recruiter.
  • Greet every recruiter with your name, what company, university, or organization you are with, and remember to make eye contact when you are speaking to them.

Making the most of these resources could mean finding a job long before your peers, or at least a head start and the experience and knowledge of what is expected and required to be a successful job candidate. Special thanks to Karla Porter for the additional information in this article.

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