In all my years of professional employment, I’ve never attended a job fair. Not that I wasn’t interested, I’ve just been lucky enough to have a job lined up each time they were appropriate. I already had a job in an ICU 2 months prior to graduating nursing school. I was into my 4th year as an employee when I graduated with my BSN. So up until now they really didn’t make much sense for me.
Fast forward to the present. I’m just completing my first year in my ACNP program with 4 more semesters to go (yes, there is a faint light at the end of the tunnel). While I’m a little bit ahead of slope, I thought I’d attend the job fair that was offered recently just to see what to make of it. I must say, prior to making my way there, I was actually quite nervous?? Not sure why, since I’m not even close to that stage in my new role!
In my current ACNP program we had the unique opportunity to attend a job fair geared for physicians. It seems to be the new trend in health care since the allied health care professionals, sometimes called physician extenders are being utilized more and more in a wide variety of settings (PA’s & NP’s)
It was surreal to be walking amongst the ranks of physicians. Once again I’m still getting used to this new advanced role (not that I’ve even got my hands dirty yet!).
This particular fair you could pre-register and upload your CV and/or resume via their website. They also had the option of bringing them with you.
The fair was a smÃ¶rgÃ¥sbord of gifts, sales pitches, shoulder rubbing and networking! Everything and anything was on the plate. It was a pleasant surprise to see so many recruiters excited and interested in potential Nurse Practitioner hirees! I was overwhelmed by the positive feedback and encouragement all the recruiters showed, not to mention all the cool gadgets and free pens (you know how we nurses like our pens)!
The purpose of me attending a job fair an entire 18 months too early was just to learn what to expect from one of these shindigs, get a sense of what employers are looking for, get my name out there, and ultimately start the career ball rolling as soon as possible.
I learned a couple things about job fairs:
- Come prepared with a sense of what you are looking for. ( I honestly wasn’t)
- Ask and answer as many questions as possible. (ask specifically about the job and all it entails)
- Sign up for any and all lists that are offered – can you say networking?
- Don’t be shy – enjoy the free stuff while it lasts!
- Be careful – some recruiters can be like used-car salesmen/saleswomen (need I explain that one?)
I must say, after this experience I am even more excited to get my hands dirty and jump head first into my advanced practice career. The sky being the limit isn’t just a saying anymore!