Review: Mashable Online Career Fair

mashable career fairEarlier this month, I attended the Mashable Online Career Fair hosted through Brazen Connect. The career fair had a $10 fee and was fully virtual. Each candidate had to wait in line to speak to a recruiter at a virtual “booth” from each company. The main pro was that you could wait in more than one line at a time, as opposed to a regular job fair where you can waste 1 hour on a line only to find out the company has no interest in your resume. Another great feature was the ease of use. The Mashable Online Career Fair can be accessed anywhere with Wi-Fi. You can be at home in your pajamas or in an office wearing a suit, and no one would know the difference.

By the end of the Mashable Online Career Fair, I had spoken to 10 recruiters and added 4 of them on LinkedIn. All of my chats with recruiters were saved for me to review later on, which made it easy to track email addresses and other important information.  One of the recruiters followed up with a phone interview, but no job offer followed. Unfortunately the more popular companies at the career fair, such as Yelp and Mashable, were uninterested in most candidates and concentrated on candidates with a technical background. Yelp refused to speak to any candidates who were not Developers. It is a shame Yelp decided to limit their candidate pool. I strongly believe the Mashable Online Career team mislead candidates by showcasing Yelp as a featured employer.

Would I recommend attending a Mashable Online Career Fair? I would say it’s worth a shot if you are looking for a very specific job in social media, but it’s not worth it if you do not have a strong technical background. While the fee of $10 is not large compared to the cost of dry cleaning a suit and traveling to a job fair, there are many free online career fairs – such as those sponsored by Milicruit and Women for Hire. Also, online career fairs lack the main ingredient of what makes traditional job fairs great – human interaction. Traditional face-to-face conversations make a world of difference in the recruiting industry. A candidate can look great on paper, but awful in person. Conversely, someone can look awful on paper, but awesome in person!

Traditional in-person career fairs are still the better way to find a job, especially if your personality outweighs your resume. In 2011, I was offered 3 jobs by people I met at job fairs. My resume was very weak and disjointed, and I kept receiving rejections from online applications. My only chance at getting a job was a big smile, a firm handshake, and a great conversation!

While the idea of an online job fair is convenient and cost-effective for companies, it is not the best way to find a job. It may help you interact with recruiters for a few brief minutes, but you can achieve the same by seeking out recruiters on LinkedIn. By sending messages to recruiters, you can start similar conversations that can lead to your next job. So the consensus? Save your money, attend only free career fairs, and always favor in-person career fairs as opposed to online fairs.

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