Job fairs — are they worth the time of job hunters or recruiters?

January 12, 2010 at 11:04 am Leave a comment

Job fairs get a lousy rap but apparently, it is a well-deserved one. In a recent survey of hiring experts, job fairs ranked near the bottom in terms of ways that employers and new hires found each other, just above help-wanted ads. (At the top? Yep, you guessed it, networking — friends and contacts passing along resumes — and then targeted listings.)

Still, recruiters say job hunters shouldn’t give up on job fairs as one of the tools in their arsenal, especially if you are trying to enlarge your network or are seeking to transition to a new field. Further, recruiters can widen their network of candidates and strengthen their hiring base by attending the right job fairs. Here is some advice from experts on how to make the most of job or employment fairs:

*Keep immediate expectations low (good advice for life in general!). View an employment fair as a research and  networking opportunity. According to this survey and to anecdotal evidence (along with my own personal experience as a recruiter) few people actually land a position they find through a job fair. Yet smart job hunters use the opportunity to get their resume in the hands of recruiters and pitch their skills for future openings. The connection made at these fairs — especially those that may not be terribly well-attended and afford the opportunity for real conversation — can turn into relationships that result in future jobs. I have hired journalists months or years down the road who I initially met at a job fair — so recruiters, use this as a way to build your stock of future talent.

*Be picky. Especially as recruiting and relocation budgets are tight these days, most hiring is being done locally — and this is not expected to change in this brutally competitive job market. So it doesn’t make sense either on the part of recruiters or job hunters to attend fairs far from home. Also, targeted fairs are more worth your while — just as putting your resume on a massive, general jobs site is unlikely to be successful, attending a big general fair is unlikely to be worth your time and effort. Job fairs through universities (sometimes limited to alumni and graduating students, but not always) or professional organizations (such as journalism groups serving specific subject areas or minority journalists) are usually a better way to go than to attend a big fair that will attract thousands of attendees. Those that offer resume clinics or skills advice and coaching may also be useful, especially for new graduates or those transitioning.

*Do research on the fair before signing up. Look at costs — the higher-priced fairs are not necessarily better (and may even signal a scam). Figure out which organizations or groups are sponsoring the fair and if you’re unfamiliar with them, do further research on who they are and what they get out of their sponsorship. How long has this fair been operating? Be wary of “first-annual” events. How big is the venue? What types of employers will actually be there? If you can, get a phone number and try to talk to someone about the employers who attended in previous years and how many will be back; that’s a sign of whether a job fair has paid off for those organizations. And if you can, do some social-networking to find job seekers who attended the fair in past years and get their opinions of its worth.

*If you’re looking to transition into a new field or even a new area within your field (say you’ve been covering defense and want to switch to business and are looking at business-oriented publications and Web sites) attending a targeted job fair could be worth the investment. Ask lots of questions of employers about what they are looking for in terms of specific skills in this field. Try to make connections with a recruiter or two or three and see if they can, based on your current resume, offer advice on how you should bolster your skills and possibly package them in a different way for their field. Ask them how they got into this field and what next steps they would take if they were you. If you can get specific advice relevant to your situation, this may be a networking opportunity well worth its cost!

*As always, a variety of job leads to peruse and pursue:

*WebsEdge in D.C. is looking for an editor/camera operator:

Vacancy: Avid, FCP editor/Z1 camera operator
Employer: WebsEdge
Location: Washington DC
Duration: Permanent, starting March 1st

Global leader in online and event broadcasting is looking for an editor/camera person with flair and commitment.

You will need to be able to edit on Avid and Final Cut Pro, turning around news items in a few hours if necessary. You will have experience with a Z1 camera (we have the new Z7 model) and the ability to light basic set ups. You will have great technical and troubleshooting skills. Most of all you will have a terrific attitude, love working with colleagues and clients but also able to work alone or in small teams.

We are a dynamic and creative company with a range of interesting clients and projects. The role may require travel.

Please only apply if you have Z1 and FCP skills and are available for this position. PLEASE ONLY REPLY IF YOU ARE LOCAL TO DC. Other inquiries will not be responded to.

More Info:

Apply to: Kelly Davis

*The following freelance/contract opportunity might be right for the right person:  is looking for a freelance M.E. to oversee original Web content: seeks a Freelance Managing Editor to oversee the development of original web content in the area of homeownership.  Editor should have knowledge of finance, insurance, and taxes in relationship to homeownership. Applicants can be based anywhere in U.S.



Experience managing freelancers/writers; editing content for voice, tone, point of view, and clarity a must. The ideal candidate will have written, edited, and/or programmed content for a home-oriented web site or publication and/or a finance-oriented web site or publication. S/he will have experience researching topics and producing original content and analysis that is engaging, authoritative, and thorough. S/he will have a passion for web communities and understand the differences between print and web content. S/he will be familiar with editing content for a variety of web formats, including quizzes, slideshows, checklists, video scripts, Q&As, etc.


•   Substantive editing of freelance content for voice, tone, clarity and point of view

•   Fact checking hard data against sources provided by writers

•   Editing for keywords and a controlled vocabulary

•   Keeping site content manager in the workflow for macro-level edits

•   Keeping editorial calendar up to date

•   Providing regular updates to site content manager

•   Auditing and reporting QA on a regular basis, alerting content manager of problems

•   Recruiting and managing freelancers

•   Developing ideas and documenting components of content down to the granular level

•   Assigning content to freelancers and monitoring progress

•   Applying metadata according to site’s guidelines

•   Entering content into content management system

•   Meeting deadlines

•   Working with the Content Manager and other editor(s) to accomplish business goals


•   Multi-tasking

•   Self-directed

•   Organized

•   Deadline oriented

•   Able to provide clear direction

•   Detail-oriented


•   Basic computer skills, Word, Excel, email systems, etc.

•   Understanding of what makes for a good user experience on the web

•   Experience working in content management systems

•   Knowledge and understanding of general web applications. Must be an avid web user.

•   Familiarity with Search Engine Optimization techniques

•   Superior editing skills

•   Researching skills

•   Management experience

•   Knowledge of AP Style


Ability to work 25 hours or more a week


Please submit resumes, clips, and a cover letter along with rate expectations to NO phone calls please.

*Thomson Reuters has an opening for a D.C.-based economic policy specialist for its new financial multimedia service:

Thomson Reuters
Economic Policy Specialist

Location: Washington, D.C.
Reuters’ new financial multimedia service, “Reuters Insider”, is looking for a Washington DC-based economic policy specialist. The successful candidate will use his/her deep understanding of economic policy as well as strong contacts in the White House, Treasury, Fed, and the Hill to help shape the service’s economic coverage.  He/she will develop story ideas, work with Reuters text reporters and columnists, appear on “Reuters Insider” programs, and interview newsmakers in the studio and in the field. Responsibilities will include providing daily on-camera analysis of economic policy news, developing long-range stories and series on trends and policy shifts, working with Reuters text reporters and BreakingViews columnists on story ideas and contacts and identifying, booking, and interviewing newsmakers.  Applicants should have between three to six years experience working as an economic journalist, you should have strong contacts at the White House, Treasury, Fed, and the Hill and have the ability to explain complex economic policies, interpret economic data, and make connections between them in a timely manner.  The ability to communicate ideas clearly and quickly, in short written updates and graphs as well as the ability to work as part of a team in a multimedia environment is a must.  A Master’s degree or equivalent is preferred and previous television training a plus but not required. Please apply online at:

*The hat tip on this final lead is to The National Association of Manufacturers in D.C. (better known as NAM) is looking for a senior media strategist:

National Association of Manufacturers
Industry Media Relations
Salary Under $85,000
Benefits 401K/403B, Dental, Health
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location Washington, DC USA
Job Requirements Respected, high profile national trade association seeks a Senior Media Strategist to oversee and manage the tactical execution of media relations and campaigns. This person will be expected to have a keen understanding of the current media landscape, personal relationships with the reporters who cover economic and manufacturing issues and a strong sense of how to package a story based on publication and reporter. The ideal candidate will have experience as a press secretary and/or crisis communications but this is not required.

The association is a fast-paced organization that focuses on issues impacting the economy, business and job creation. Candidates should have a Bachelors degree in journalism, political science, English or related discipline; 5-8 years of communications experience. Candidate should have a collaborative style and effective written and verbal communications skills. Competitive salary and benefits offered. For consideration submit your resume and cover letter to

About Our Company The NAMs mission is to advocate on behalf of its members to enhance the competitiveness of manufacturers by shaping a legislative and regulatory environment conducive to U.S. economic growth and to increase understanding among policymakers, the media and the general public about the vital role of manufacturing in Americas economic and national security for today and in the future.

The NAM is the leading advocate of a pro-growth, pro-manufacturing agenda.
The NAM is a partner in reinforcing the legislative and regulatory activities of its member firms.
The NAM is a primary source for information on manufacturers contributions to innovation and productivity.

Happy hunting!



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How recruiters check out applicants How to get out of a job-hunting rut

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