The worst thing to do at a job fair

When I wrote about my last job fair experience I shared the general challenge of being an introvert at a job fair, but I did not share the biggest mistake I made that day. The generalization of that mistake is “Don’t talk to potential employers at a job fair without doing research.” The specific example is far more embarrassing.

I had done some preparation before the job fair and knew there were only a few participating employers in the city that were hiring for roles that were even close to what I was looking for. I researched those companies and was prepared when I spoke to their representatives. (One of those ended up hiring me.)

Because I had so few companies I definitely wanted to meet with I was done in the first 20 minutes.

Since I was already there I figured I should take advantage of the time and talk to a few more employers, even those that would be an impractically long commute for me. I hadn’t done any research for those companies, but I decided to talk to them anyway.

One employer who seemed interesting but who I had ruled out solely for geography makes a line of educational toys. As a mother of two I figured I could make a connection with them beyond just my professional background.

I walked up, handed over my resume, gave a brief introduction about my experience, and then spent several minutes explaining that I have children who love a specific line of educational toys.

I had sufficiently gushed about my kids’s toys before the person said, “We don’t make those.”


As you might expect, they never contacted me.

So, learn from me, if you are going to talk to a potential employer but haven’t previously done any research, at least take a moment to look them up on your phone before you embarrass yourself.

This was written as a part of Blogapalooz-Hour when ChicagoNow bloggers are given a topic and challenged to publish a blog post about it in an hour. Today’s topic was “Write about a time you made a mistake or were wrong about something.

RELATED POST: Being an introvert at a job fair sucks

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