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JFCS Career Development Center career fair

JFCS Career Development Center wrapped up another career fair on June 4th, this time at the Millvale Community Center. Twenty-two employers and community resource organizations participated, including recruiters from Amazon, Giant Eagle, U.S. Steel, PNC, Waste Management and the PA Liquor Control Board.

“There were more than 40 attendees, including both current clients and some newcomers,” said George Ponticello, one of JFCS’s Career Counselors. “It works out well for everyone as there are no long lines and plenty of time for speaking with all the employers.”

Some of the employers also appreciated the intimacy of the event. “Some events are so large that the candidate doesn’t have much time to stay and chat with us, because they’re focused on hitting all the tables,” said Emily McIntyre of PrideStaff, a staffing agency.  “We had several good conversations with different candidates and believe that we may be able to help place several.”

Brandon McArdle attended the event. Brandon had become a client of JFCS Career Development Center in May. He had a plan; he was looking for a job at Giant Eagle. He was willing to start at an entry level, but definitely wanted to find a position with advancement possibilities. His JFCS career counselor Pam Day helped him update his resume and cover letter, and they worked together to identify different positions at Giant Eagle that would be a good fit.

“Like 98% of our clients, Brandon qualified for free career counseling services,” said Sarah Welch, Director of JFCS Career Development Services. “We are fortunate to have wonderful support from funders like the United Way of SWPA, Jewish Federation, Allegheny County, and Partner4Work. We work really hard to fit everyone who comes to us looking for help with their job search into a funded program.”

Before the Millvale Career Fair, Brandon applied for a position at Giant Eagle and was offered an interview. At the career fair, he was able to spend time with the Giant Eagle recruiters, who gave him pointers about interviewing. He asked questions and frankly shared his goal to move into a training position with the company. Among other tips, Giant Eagle recruiters Darlene and Sandy advised him to “dress the part” of the job he aspired to for his interview, and not the entry level clerk position.

By meeting the recruiters at the career fair before his interview, Brandon was completely prepared for the kinds of questions he would be asked and knew the type of employee that Giant Eagle was looking for. He was offered a position and started his training on June 17th.

Career fairs offer a great opportunity to become comfortable meeting employers and promoting your skills and experience. Meeting potential employers face to face can make a more lasting impression than just filling out an online application. Brandon was able to show his enthusiasm for Giant Eagle and what it would mean to him to work there.

JFCS Career Development Center organizes several career fairs during the year, and holds office hours in several locations throughout the area. Find out more information about job fairs and career counseling services by visiting the JFCS website at https://www.jfcspgh.org/services/career-development-center/.