Dress for success is the motto that came to mind when I walked up to the Lincoln Financial Field in South Philly. The everyday home of the Philadelphia Eagles was temporarily turned into the Mega Career Fair on September 21.
It could not have been more apparent that everyone, literally everyone, is currently looking for a job. From those who have years to decades of experience in their respective fields; to others who are armed with their fresh degrees, lined up at the booths of employers in nursing and health care, insurance, media and more.
The majority were dressed the part, in clothes suitable for meeting potential employers while other Philadelphians did not seem to have a clue as to what business attire meant. It seemed they recently saw the advertisement in the paper or online and decided to come down in whatever they decided to wear that day. Some came in jeans, T-shirts and flips and others in sweat pants. Is this general ignorance of what is appropriate attire or a sign that not everyone has access to information about the process of job-hunting?
Many of the employers there stressed that the best way to apply for jobs is online through their website and others simply stressed that they were not hiring at this point. For eager job seekers, this information may have been quite disappointing.
However, it is important to remember that the ultimate goal of a career fair is not to be hired on the spot, although that would be wonderful. Some of the goals are to network, ask questions about your prospective industry and to get a feel for the people who work at the company. Through this brief interaction, you have the opportunity to make yourself stand out and make a connection to an insider. Someone who you could contact later or who will remember you and bookmark your resume.
The two to three hours spent milling with thousands of other applicants and standing in line for up to 20 minutes taught that now, more than ever, is the best (perfect?) time to follow your passion and start your own business. Survival is not guaranteed if you are satisfied with holding your breath while prospective employers sift through hundreds (maybe thousands) of applicants, who in their eyes seem to all fade into one big pool.