DENNIS SEID: It's called a job fair, not a festival

By DENNIS SEID / NEMS Daily Journal

I admit I haven’t been shopping my resume or submitting applications anywhere the past six years.
So maybe the rules of engagement have changed some. But I don’t think so.
I’m fortunate to be employed, unlike millions of Americans. And I’m also fortunate that I enjoy what I do and that my bosses haven’t told me I actually need to be updating my resume.
So perhaps it was with a skewed perspective when I surveyed the crowd of several hundred people who were lined up early for the CDF regional job fair on Thursday.
There were many men and women dressed professionally. Some wore their Sunday best and others wore “business casual.”
But a great many people were dressed more casually. Too casually.
I didn’t see any T-shirts-and-shorts combinations. But there was a fair share of baggy pants, untucked shirts, sweat pants and other questionable wear.
Baseball caps, to be precise. At least take them off.
Apparently, the old adage – “first impressions are everything” – didn’t get across to some folks.
I may sound like one of those stuffy executives or HR people who have been using the same manual for 100 years when it comes to hiring.
But guess what? It’s still the accepted norm to dress up for a potential interview.
Maybe I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, so I walked up to one fairly well-dressed young man who wore a blazer and khakis – never mind the tennis shoes – and interrupted his texting.
“So,” I asked, “what are you here for?”
“You with Toyota?” he asked me without introducing himself.
“Uh, no,” I replied.
“Well, I’m hoping to get a job with them,” he said, returning to his texting.
“Anything in particular?” I asked, resisting the urge to smack him.
“Naw. I just want a job that pays good with benefits,” he said, never once looking up.
“Yeah, good luck,” I said. And I really meant it.
Another young woman in another line had on her Sunday-best sweats. At least she had copies of her resume.
This time, I introduced myself as a reporter with the Daily Journal and told her I was interviewing job applicants for a story. I asked if she would mind if I asked her a few questions.
She jumped the gun, however.
“Do you work with Toyota?” she asked.
OK, one of the first things you do, besides dressing up for a potential job interview, is to listen to what the other person says. What we had was a failure to communicate.
But there were many others who were prepared – dressed for the part and ready to be interviewed. One gentleman said he had a good job, but wanted to see if there were any opportunities that provided more stability. Another young man also had a good job, but he was looking for something different.
Clearly, these folks understood that a job fair is a trial run for a job.
In these still uncertain times when jobs are scarce, I wish good luck to everyone looking for a job – but some more than others.
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@djournal.com.