Conference season is nearly upon us, and I have been looking forward to attending both NASPA - for the second time - and ACPA - for the first time. As a second year Masters student though, the obvious expectation that has been put forward by many a predecessor is that I should attend TPE, in part because NASPA is nearby in Bawlmer (Baltimore), but also because of the supposed wealth of job opportunities in one place. While I certainly am game to put myself in for any opportunity that could lead to job acquisition, there is one thing that turns me off about TPE: cost.
I cannot believe that anyone would even consider paying a dime for a job fair. Certainly as a former recruiter, I am no stranger to the notion of fee-based career placement firms, but I have NEVER believed in the value of paying someone else to find me a job. The supposition that doing so will yield "increased odds for employment" based on the sheer number of employers in physical proximity is not a compelling argument. Coupled with this, I know very well that TPE largely attracts employment opportunities in ResLife, which I've said before, I.AM.NOT.INTERESTED.
I understand and empathize that job fairs are expensive endeavors to put on; however, I could barely get enough money together to get myself to NASPA in the first place, and now you want me to pay more money and get my hopes that I might get an interview for a job I probably don't want? Pass. I know there are many who will disagree with my interpretation, and granted, I have not been to TPE to understand exactly how it works, but want to know what I know from experience that does work? Networking. And where can I network without having to pay extra money? I don't think I even have to say it.
I intend on writing a detailed blog leading up to conferences about my tactical networking strategies, but for now, I am going to keep my credit card tucked away and save it for more immediate purchases such as textbooks (groan).
An exciting announcement: I will be in New York area on Friday for the NYU Student Affairs conference. I attended last year and found it to be fairly informative and a great collegial environment for networking. I will report my experiences for next week's blog. Otherwise, another week gone by, and all remains quiet and non-existent on the job front. Happy hunting my fellow SA-ers!