By Melvin Collins, Jr.


The Job Fair and Showcase for February, “My Heart Is Set On A Job,” was a huge hit with employers and job seekers alike at The Red jobfairflyerMen Museum sponsored by The Heart Of Texas Workforce Solutions Center in Waco, Texas.

The setting was plain and elegantly simple, the employers came with guarded expectations. “You never know what to expect,” said one employer, “it’s a job fair and a showcase at the same time.” This is the first time the two types of job events were combined like this. “How is this suppose to get-attachment-6.aspxwork?” everyone continued to ask as the day grew closer and closer leading up to the event.

Well, it’s works this way, the Job Fair portion of the event allows job seekers who have an interest in talking to employers about possible jobs to attend. Employers come with materials, goodies, brochures and applications to hand out. They will take resumes and accept completed applications right there on the spot. This will give them time to review resumes and applications at their home base. There are no restrictions on who can talk to these employers and many, if not most, will not qualify for a position with the employer. The ratio can be more than 9 to 1 of not meeting the minimum requirements. That means that 9 of 10 people who talk to the employer have no chance of getting a job.

Now to the Showcase, each and every participant is pre-screened for minimum qualifications and if they meet these minimum get-attachment-5.aspxIMG_1623qualifications, they are scheduled to meet with our staff for an interview. After being interviewed, the participant is told whether they meet the employer’s requirements and if they have an interest in the position, they are scheduled for the Showcase. Employers, if time permits, may get a copy of the scheduled participants’ resumes for them to review in advance. On the day of the Showcase, the employer comes to a private area to receive scheduled participants. Each participant is allowed a set amount of time for a face-to-face conversation with the employer. This is actually an interview! After this conversation, the employer will tell the participant what the next step will be for them, perhaps a second interview or a background check. The ratio of positive results is more than thirty percent getting a job with that employer. That is 1 out of 3 people getting a job.

The Showcase involves much more work for us, but the reward for the employer, the jobseeker and us is very much worth the effort.

This job event was one of the best that has occurred in recent memory. Everyone was orderly, many were dressed for the occasion and there were very few onlookers on, that is, people who just come to accompany the job seeker.

We did receive comments through our Job Club about the look of some of the job seekers. There were comments from some of our Job Club members such as the following:

“I went to the Job Fair today and was really pretty shocked by the appearance of many of the applicants. I saw wet hair, messy hoodies, lots and lots of t-shirt and jeans ensembles and wrinkled clothes galore.”

“First impressions are important.”

“Personal grooming is even more important.”

“Good hygiene is as important as dressing appropriately for the job. But, being overdressed for the position can also be a negative thing. I say, dress for the occasion.”

“Dressing the part is certainly important! I saw lots of people there today who were NOT dressed for potential job interviews and it showed! I saw people not only in jeans, t-shirts, sweats, but also with rags on their heads. You don’t go to job interviews like that!”

These are but a few of the comments we received about the appearance of some of the job seekers. I must say that our Job Club members came and represented well. And, there were members of my Job-Readiness Class who looked amazing. When asked, where did you get such a great looking outfit, one person said “Goodwill.” I was so proud of her. She looked great, had a beautiful smile on her face, chose a great looking professional look and did not spend a lot of money to make it all work for her.get-attachment-3.aspx

With her telling us that she got her outfit from Goodwill tells us all that we do not have to spend a lot of money to look right for an interview or for just looking for a job at a job fair.

There were thirty employers participating at both the Job Fair and Showcase. All comments, thus far, have been excellent and the HOT Workforce Solutions will be planning more events in the upcoming weeks.

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