Friday, January 30, 2009

Grading the 2009 Columbus Blue Jackets Job Fair

Two months ago I received an e-mail from the Columbus Blue Jackets organization letting me know about their annual job fair. The message said that many different companies would be in attendance and they'd be looking for folks to fill positions such as IT support, sales, marketing, teaching, and internships. Since my job search has not gleaned much lately, I decided to buy my tickets then and there. They even threw in a ticket to the Blue Jackets game that night when you purchased your ticket for the fair so that was another reason to go.

Ever since then I've been patiently waiting for the fair. Today, my wait ended. But was it worth it?

I'm going to grade the job fair in five categories on a scale from 0-5 with 5 being the best.

3.5 out of 5

The set up for the fair itself was nicely spaced and took up the entire oval surrounding the hockey rink in Nationwide Arena. This allowed for good traffic flow.

Yet the mark down comes from the lack of helpful arena staff. Some folks received a map of the layout and where the companied were stationed. Others did not. Some folks got a list of what positions the companies were looking to fill. Others did not. I'll give you one guess as to who didn't get either of those!

2 out of 5

Of the 30 companies in attendance, 15 of them were either looking to fill unpaid internships OR were only handing out informational pamphlets about the company itself.

WHAT? Who is looking to support their family by getting an unpaid internship?

My favorite moment of lunacy came when I began talking with a representative at the Cardinal Health booth. We shook hands, exchanged names, and I asked her what positions her company was looking to fill. She proceeded to hand me information on how to fill out an online job search profile on their website. When my profile is completed, available positions matching my qualifications would be e-mailed to me.

WHAT? If I needed to go online to find a job with your company, why did I pay 30 bucks to come here? Better still, if that is all the help you are, what are you doing here?

4 out of 5

The only reason this number is not a 2 is the excellent play of the Columbus Blue Jackets in their game that took place three hours after the fair. They won their game 1-0 over the Ottawa Senators in a very physical, fast paced contest. Great goal tending by Steve Mason tonight. Very entertaining. It was my first NHL live game and I highly recommend going to see one.

3 out of 5

This number would have been alot higher if the companies who were only looking to fill internships hadn't bothered to show up. If college students want to find internships in their chosen field of study, let their college/university help them find it. Or, they can do what I did, go out and make your own opportunities by giving companies a call or going online.

2.5 out of 5

I stayed up until 3am making sure I had 15 updated business cards and 35 pristinely printed resumes on 20 and 24-pound paper stock. I only handed out 5 resumes and not a single business card. I spent 30 bucks in tickets, 15 bucks in parking, and 20 bucks for dinner (including 3 beers) and basically got a little buzz before watching a good hockey game.

The only saving grace besides the hockey game was getting to talk with the folks from Dale Carnegie. I had seen their company listed in the line-up and briefly looked them up online before the fair but I was pleasantly surprised at what they had to offer. I had a nice conversation with a very helpful and cheerful lady named Candice who seemed like she was genuinely interested in what I could do for her company. I'm very much looking forward to hearing back from the lady in charge of their corporate trainers (which is the positions I'm interested in learning more about).

15 out of 25

If this was grade school, the 2009 Columbus Blue Jackets Job Fair would have received a 60% on its report card.

The only bright spots were the Blue Jackets themselves and three to five conversations I had with local business representatives.



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