Tallaght Stadium, March 2020 – The “Career & Apprenticeships Job Expo” was the last employment fair hosted by Intreo before a national lockdown was declared by the Irish Government in the following weeks. Attended by approximately 2,000 job seekers eager to speak with employers and take the next steps in their careers, there was whispers about a new “flu-like” sickness and what, if any, impact it would have on the employment landscape that Summer.
It had an impact. Amongst a lot of other things, it was a springboard for a little-known app called Zoom and the popularization of the term “webinar”. Initially, Zoom was a professional god send. It enabled us to keep in touch with our colleagues, clients and even family and offered us a somewhat face-to-face setting as opposed to the old-fashioned phone call. It also afforded organisations the ability to continue to hold, in some form anyway, seminars, conferences and job fairs. In the early days of Covid these events became something to look forward to, a way to break up the monotonous day of working from the very place you were confined to for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, after 2 years of Zoom overuse and webinar fatigue (compounded in the professional world by too many 3 hour webinars were a 20 minute phone call would suffice), it is time for the triumphant return of the employment fair!
Apart from the social aspect of actually being in a public place with actual people, there are many positives to attending these fairs. As a job seeker, it offers you the chance to discuss opportunities in a number of different companies and organisations directly with the people tasked with finding the best staff for the available positions. Instead of deciphering the cliché’s of the standard online job posting (who doesn’t like a fast-paced environment and working off their own initiative?!), you can have a vacancy explained to you in plain English, while getting a sense of the company and it’s ethos directly from their own staff. Here they can guide you through the application process there and then and in person. This can be invaluable to any job seeker as it minimizes any possible errors in their application while giving them the chance to make an impression on the recruitment staff.
Employment fairs are the gateways to jobs. The companies who attend are proactively seeking to recruit staff. If you are a job seeker attending an employment fair, you should pro-actively speak to as many recruiters as possible. Bring your CV’s. Present yourself well. Give yourself the best chance.