A few weeks ago, I attended a job fair that was sponsored by the Houston Chronicle. The funny thing was that it was broken into three sections: nursing, engineering, and general. They wouldn't even allow me into the nursing or engineering section even though those companies were also hiring people that weren't nurses or engineers. Heck, I even tried to sneak into them to give them my resume and I was rebuffed.
That being said, I got a couple of good leads in the general section and they ended up resulting in two job offers. The irony is that both offers came from essentially the same company. So, they know about each other and both say the other is a good place to work. Funny how that all works out. Suffice it to say, I will be selling insurance and financial planning either place I go.
Both places were interested in the teaching background. The idea is that I can explain things to people in ways they can understand. The fact that I taught economics and am very familiar with statistics made it a pretty good fit. So, some of my friends and family may be getting one of those automatic emails introducing me with the new company. If you get one of those I apologize for inudating your inbox with advertisements. That is of course unless you are interested in my services.
However, my job prospects are not the subject of the piece today. My subject is based on what I saw at the job fair. Both companies were increasingly interested because I bothered to send them a note thanking them for their time and indicating my interest in working for them. They said I was the only one to do it. That used to be the norm when entering the job market, but little things like that seem to get lost in the shuffle.
What floored me in the Chronicle job fair was the number of people that showed up in blue jeans and tee shirts. I will say this once and only once. If you aren't at least wearing kackies and a tie (obviously with a shirt unless applying for Chippendale's) you might as well just stay home. Resumes come in handy too.
Your clothes indicate a few things to a perspective employer. First, they want to know how you will represent them. If you wear the baggie pants with the stylish tee shirt and the big gold necklace they think you can represent them as their pimp. Unfortunately, most companies aren't in need of a pimp. More importantly, your clothes represent how important you see the job for yourself. If you show up in pajama pants then you just don't take yourself that seriously.
Everyone has the dream of being their own boss and being able to roll out of bed in whatever for their job. It amazes me how many people at this job fair just did not get the basic life lesson that you show up to job interviews looking professional. Of course, the same goes for women too, but they have more options. There are pant suits, dresses, and other stylish options. If I have the urge to walk up to you and offer a 50 spot for a quickie you need to go home and change.
The author of the career rescue column in the Chronicle was there as well. I wish she would have gotten on a soap box and pointed some people out. I would venture to say that almost half of the job seekers were ill prepared the minute they stepped through the door. That's okay, more opportunities for me I guess. Happy hunting everyone.