Lindsey Gerow drove from Savannah, Ga., on Friday to pass out résumés at an Augusta job fair in hope of landing a job teaching art at one of Georgia’s public schools.
By midafternoon, she had stopped by a handful of state Board of Education booths at Georgia Regents University’s annual Expo Career Fair. The 27-year-old is close to receiving her K-12 teaching certification at Armstrong Atlantic State University.
“I figured this would be a good chance to get some face time and to figure if I was heading in the right direction,” said Gerow, who teaches art at children’s camps. “If I was teaching any other subject, I could choose better, but my passion is art and I have to go where they’ll take me or I’ll just keep doing children’s camps, which is really fun, anyway.”
Several hundred job-seekers filed into Christenberry Fieldhouse, where more than 90 organizations were passing out information and offering employment.
The job fair has been around for more than two decades, but this is the first since Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities consolidated in January.
Employers, ranging from the health care and education sectors to office and industrial companies, had both immediate and future openings.
GRU Career Services Director Julie Goley said employer participation increased 30 percent since last year’s event.
“I don’t know if that’s due to an up-tick with the economy or if that’s due to Georgia Regents University and a wider diversity of program offerings, but we’ll take it,” she said.
Seeing how job-searchers present themselves and show their personalities is what guides Sonja Gundersen, of Bankers Life and Casualty Co. in Martinez, when she looks at potential employees.
“With this job, you have to be friendly,” said Gundersen, whose insurance company had taken part in the job fair for four years.
Advances in technology have depersonalized the job search in recent years, Goley said.
“This is a way to put a job-seeker in direct contact with employers so you have that face-to-face interaction,” she said. “It’s that networking so that you can really stand out in a sea of electronic applicants.”
GRU graduate student Jack Bazemore was looking for a job in financial services and visited ADP and State Farm representatives shortly after arriving at the job fair.
“I think it will help me feel out the companies a little bit,” said Bazemore, who is working toward his master’s degree in business administration. “It’s not just about finding a job well. It’s about finding the right fit.”