Seth Godin on Career Fairs

Seth Godin has taken an interesting look at career fairs and comes to the conclusion that good jobs and the best employees won’t be found there. It’s a race to mediocrity:

By the time a job opening hits the career fair, it’s a job you don’t want. And by the time a job seeker is walking down the aisles, standardized resume in hand, it might be too late for her to find a job that’s worthy of her.

I don’t think this is Seth’s best advice. Sure, you may land a better job (or find a better employee) through different means, but there are many awesome prospective employees who simply are not aware of the opportunities that exist for them. If they take a job found through a job fair and really are awesome, they’ll likely move quickly into better jobs within the company that take advantage of their full set of skills.

Looking at Seth’s advice, he makes it sound like your first job will also be your last, which is absolutely not the case. I’m more disturbed by people who hold out for the perfect job than those who take a job and make the most of it. The latter benefit from experience, seniority, and an income. That’s not a bad position to be in.

One thought on “Seth Godin on Career Fairs”

  1. Increasingly career fairs are just the suburban version of a guy in a pickup pulling up to the curb and picking out some day laborers.

    Ed, I know this is hard to believe, but there’s an amazing number of companies in this country who are just looking for warm bodies and who don’t provide any experience or training worth having. There are jobs that make you less employable (boiler room phone operations, collections, political work, customer service for dysfunctional organizations, retail management positions that take 60-80 hours a week but pay salary, etc.).

    Are there good companies at job fairs? You betcha, but for the most part they aren’t hiring, they’re just there because for them it’s a very cheap form of advertising.

    As for internal promotions, the #1, 2, 3 and 4 complaints I got from my resume clients was that the only way to get ahead with their old company was to forget about productivity and instead devote yourself to brown nosing. That’s harsh, but before this century had you ever heard of narcissistic personality disorders? Nowadays that’s practically synonymous with the winners in corporate America’s cult of management.

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