Job Fairs Growing Ever More Crowded

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(West Sacramento, CA)
Friday, March 13, 2009

The parking lot was full; the street alongside it, bursting with cars.  The queue to get in resembled an airport security ropeline – zig-zagging back and forth in an all-too-small space.  And the crowds indoors?  Well, let’s just say the fire marshal might raise an eyebrow or two.  Such is the scene at a job fair when the region’s unemployment rate tops 10 percent.
Nasario: “I was actually wondering what you were about.”
Thornton: “We’re online advertising.  It’s Local Ad Link.  Do you have a resume?”
West Sacramento resident Karl Nasario lost his job at a warehouse a couple of months ago.  He says he’ll take whatever work he can get.
Nasario: “I have two kids and I need to find something good.  So it’s hard out there with this economy.  It’s bad.  And I see everybody here today too, and I’m just trying to do what they’re doing – just trying to survive.” 
Nasario’s one of hundreds of people hunting for work here.  He wears a black leather jacket over his dark red dress shirt and tie.  In fact, as you look around, job-seekers of all ages and ethnicities have picked completely different ways of presenting themselves.  Some are dressed to the nines, with snazzy-looking resumes.  Others wear clothes like a ski hat and hooded sweatshirt.  Nancy O’Hara, with Yolo County’s Department of Employment and Social Services, says going casual is probably not the best idea.
O’Hara: “You would present yourself as if you were interviewing for the job.  You want to go in ready to go and say, this is something I can do.  How can I help you?”
Ben: “Because an employer is going to be evaluating you right away – from the moment she first, or he first, lays eyes on you.”
O’Hara: “Right.  And the thing is, you see the number of people we have here.  The one thing you want to do is stand out.” 
As for the employers, well, here’s an example of the variety: the Sacramento Police Department table sat next to one trying to recruit “independent consultants” to run Passion Parties.  The same room also included the National Guard, the Los Rios Community College District and Devry University.  They were recruiting, all right, but not necessarily for jobs.
Thornton: “We have an account executive position, and that is 50 percent commission.
Nasario: “Oh, nice, that sounds good.”
Karl Nasario is talking with Carol Thornton, who works for an online advertising company.  Thornton says she’s got 100 local positions available, and she thinks she’ll find 100 qualified candidates before she leaves.
Thornton: “I’m very optimistic.  Right now, at the job fair, I can only do a little bit of speaking with them, getting their resume, and I will be following up with interviews.” 
Thornton sees everyone in line, and she says she’s willing to talk to them all.