Well in case you missed my continuous mentioning of it for, oh, the past three months, I went to a job fair last week. It was big, it was overwhelming, it provided excellent people watching. We’ll focus first on the most important thing – judging other people’s clothes.
You guys – all those weeks I spent fretting over my suit? Wow, not necessary. I would say most of the guys did alright. It’s easy for guys. You put on a suit. There aren’t a lot of options. You have to be pretty clueless to get this wrong. Sure, there was that one guy with the suit that was at least a size too big. He could have invested twenty bucks in getting his jacket sleeves hemmed, but that wasn’t worth much more than a chuckle.
But the girls? Wow ladies. A quick google search: “what to wear to a job fair.” A clubbin’ dress with a blazer over it is still a clubbin’ dress. There were stairs involved in this job fair. I’m just saying, I almost saw things I didn’t want to see when I was climbing the stairs while certain ladies were coming down. If your skirt is shorter than knee length, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Also – why, why would you want to wear four inch spike heels to stand for three hours on cement floors? I was wearing kitten heels (thank god I re-discovered these shoes in my closet five minutes before I walked out the door) and even so my back was killing me after twenty minutes standing in those lines.
Then there was the girl with the pants suit that was covered in animal hair of some kind. I totally get having pets. I love animals. I know their hair gets everywhere, but invest in a pet hair roller. It’s a cheap, low-tech solution to a persistent problem.
My suit worked out just fine. I found a pretty purple shirt to wear under it and I think I looked pretty decent. I had only one wardrobe malfunction. I read online that you have to wear nylons under a skirt suit to assure that the skirt lays right (it’s been so long since I’ve worn nylons that I didn’t even own any). So I got some nylons. And then I went to put on my shoes. Guess what? Nylons are slippery. None of my shoes fit anymore. I actually walked right out of them. Luckily my brief period of panic was followed by the balling up of some toilet paper and shoving it into the toes of my shoes. Half-size smaller shoes, like magic!
So, clothes aside, how did the job fair go? It went. I don’t think I kicked ass, but I didn’t crash and burn either. I talked to a lot of companies I was interested in and a few of them even seemed enthusiastic to talk to me. I am not going to talk about specific companies here because, you know, the internets – they’re open to everyone, including folks at companies I’d love to work for. The last thing I’d want to do is say the wrong thing and have it bite me in the butt one day.
I can say I’ve got two or three companies that I’ve really got my fingers crossed for. They seemed enthusiastic to talk to me and excited about my résumé and background (let me tell you, it’s a lot easier to talk to a company rep if they’re friendly and seem genuinely interested in what you have to say, many didn’t). I had one interview yesterday and have another scheduled for today. Neither were initially my top picks, but the one yesterday got me a lot more interested in the position and the one today will certainly be worth going to to learn more and also to get practice interviewing. Interviews are supposed to be happening throughout October and unfortunately the companies I’m most excited about are interviewing a little later in the month. Fingers crossed that I won’t have to make the decision of whether to accept an early offer or turn it down in the hopes that another (more enticing) company will make one later. Although I suppose it wouldn’t be a terrible problem to have in the current economy.
I was at the fair almost three hours. By the end my back hurt so bad that I was discreetly dipping into corners trying to get out of sight so I could bend over and stretch. The toilet paper in the ends of my shoes was smashing my toes and I was dying for a drink of water. Having not been able to locate a drinking fountain, I told my friend about my predicament and he showed up thirty seconds later with a bottle of water that he claimed they were handing out “all over the place.” So much for my killer observation skills. My leather portfolio was bursting at the seams with company literature and I had been carrying around a branded zip drive in my hand for over an hour after discovering that my suit features no pockets whatsoever (seriously?). It has the ever-useful faux pockets that look like pockets but are not. Brilliant!
So there you have it. The much fretted-over job fair. I’m glad I went, and even more glad it’s over. It wasn’t nearly as scary as I was imagining and now I have a good idea of what to expect next year when I’m out there looking for a full time job. There were definitely things I’d do differently, and I’m excited to try them out the next time around. But for now, applications have been filled out, thank you emails have been sent and LinkedIn invitations have been submitted. Which companies will make the smart decision to take a chance on me? Hopefully I’ll know soon!