There’s a certain large media conglomeration in Western Canada that runs career fairs throughout Western Canada over the year with promise of ‘Jobs for EVERYONE!’
The advertisement, I’ve seen it for years, reads ‘Come one come all! Dress to impress and bring your resume and get ready to work!’ The advertisement also lists that it’s for those serious about taking the next step with their career and that companies would be present from all over Western Canada, including some big logo brands that operate on a National and International scale.
I thought to myself ‘You need to go. You don’t have a job and if there’s big brands there, you could use that as a means to connect yourself to the offices in Calgary that you want to be at. It’s a better option than not going.’
So I went.
I drove half an hour to get there.
I paid $25 to get into the career fair because I believed that, like the advertisement suggested, I would be face to face with HR managers of some of the best companies and organizations in Western Canada.
$25 is not a lot of money, in the grand scheme of things. But it is also a lot of money when you are presently unemployed, as I am. I felt a little as though they were taking advantage of people who were unemployed in charging a fee to enter this career fair, but I also tried to remind myself that probably not everyone there was unemployed, there were probably some people who have jobs who just want better jobs or to change their career. So I let it go… at the time.
What I found upon spending some time in this career fair was that it was not, in fact, a ‘Come one come all’ type of career fair. This career fair was not for everyone. This career fair was almost strictly for those who work trades/labour positions – mechanics, electricians, builders, etc…
Possessing none of the skills or education required for a trades position, I felt as though I was duped out of $25.
There also no major companies there – not the one’s listed on the flyer. All of these companies were local. They were advertising people being able to be in front of hiring managers for these big, wide reaching companies and what my $25 got me was in front of the people who own the mom and pop shops downtown.
I have nothing wrong with mom and pop shops, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t need to pay $25 to talk to them. I can go in there any day of the week and talk to them. The reason that none of these mom and pop shops have given me a job thus far is because I do not work in trades. I am not an electrician, I don’t drive logging trucks, etc… so having me work for their company would do them no good.
This was a really disheartening activity for me to try and take part in. In trying to salvage the experience so that it wasn’t a total waste, I tried to hang my resume to three places, telling them if they had any office positions open up they should keep me in mind. The response I was met with was ‘Oh, we’re not actually accepting any resumes here today. You need to apply online. We’re only here to inform candidates of our existence’.
This had me thinking ‘why did the advertisement read ‘bring your resume and be ready to work’ if no one actually wants to collect resumes? I asked one of the women why she wasn’t taking resumes and she said ‘It’s all done online these days!’ I kindly responded with ‘Then what’s the point in taking part in a career fair?’ Her response was ‘To meet new candidates and direct them to our website!’ I, as nicely as I could, said ‘Thank you so much for wasting my time and money today’. She herself probably didn’t deserve that level of snark. It was more the organizers that should have suffered the wrath of my snark but at this point I was really pissed off.
They advertise ‘Come one come all’ for a career fair that isn’t actually a career fair, but rather an information session about how to find the website to apply for jobs. They make it seem as though this career fair is for everyone across all industries when in reality, it was 90% for trades and labour positions and 10% educational institutions trying to convince people to sign up for more schooling. They include logos of big brands, big companies that operate Canada wide and make note of their being positions available across the Province and beyond leading people to believe these companies might just be there… when they’re not. Not one company who’s logo was on the flyer was at the career fair today. They say ‘Bring your resume’ and then no one who is there is accepting resumes.
I just… I’m so disappointed that I was this easily duped.
Needless to say I’ll think twice before I attend a career fair any time soon.
I didn’t have high hopes going in, but I had hopes. Hopes that if I could talk to the right person I could wow them with my sparkling personality start a genuine business connection. I was met with a lackluster excuse of a ‘Career Fair’ in which I’m ultimately sure the organizers took a lot of money from A LOT of people today who don’t work in trades and got duped just as I did.
On the way out I mentioned to one of the women doing reception that the career fair was largely geared towards those in trades and wasn’t meant for someone without a trades education, like myself. She agreed with me. I inquired if I could get a refund of my $25 or, at the very least some of my money back. She said ‘No, you went in, it was your choice whether or not you used that opportunity to make the connections you needed.’
I don’t say this a lot because I try not to call people this name… but she was an ignorant bitch.
I got duped.
Onto the next, I guess.