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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Job fair attendees armed with resumes, optimism

By Sharon Aschaiek

When she graduates from Herzing College's legal assistant program at the end of October, 30-year-old Jeanette Huff will be more than ready to enter her field. But she isn't waiting until then to start her job search. Decked out in a business-smart suit and armed with several copies of her resume, Huff was working her way through the aisles at last week's National Job Fair.

"There are legal departments in companies from various industries," Huff said. "Our whole class is here, and we want to broaden our search."
About 15,200 job seekers attended The National Job Fair last week to check out 79 exhibitors, including Manpower Services.

She was pleased to see exhibitors such as the National Institute of Broadcasters and the Cirque de Soleil, and planned to enquire about legal work opportunities.

"I'm really optimistic," she said. "There are a lot of good booths here, and you never know where you might find an opportunity."

Huff was one of more 15,200 people looking for work, a career transformation or training opportunities who attended the third edition of what has become the largest job fair in the country.

Attendees to the fair, which took place Sept. 17 and 18 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, could access an Employment Pavilion, Training Pavilion and new this year, an Employment Services Pavilion.

Overall, 79 exhibitors were on hand, which included: private and public companies looking for personnel, employment agencies, public organizations and government services, and professional and specialized training centres and colleges.

Companies at the fair included Danier Leather, Clarica, JetsGo and the Ontario Provincial Police. Training centres included the Information Technology Institute, Marvel Beauty Schools and the Humber Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning.

A major draw this year, as in previous years, was the booth for employment agency Manpower Services.

Xing Hu was at the fair looking for manegerial work in the financial investment sector. The 41-year-old has several years of experience in the field from his native China, and when he arrived in Toronto, completed a degree in accounting at York University.

"I've worked in investment for many years," Hu said. "I think I can help a company grow their business in China."

For 27-year-old Mina Babaei, who studied English translation back home in Iran, finding administrative work was on the agenda.

"I haven't seen anything yet, but will keep looking," she said.

A full roster of presentations took place that covered strategies for job searching, mastering interview skills and networking.

Susan Leigh, business development manager of employment services agency Drake International, kicked off the presentation schedule with a breakdown of the skills, information and habits job hunters need for an effective search.

"Research the position you are interested in," Lee said. "Talk to people in the industry, do research online, and get a feel for the details of the position and the salary."

Lee also emphasized that job hunters surround themselves with a positive network of people, highlight to employers (during an interview) what they have done in the last five years (but not beyond, as the market will have changed), and develop a career vision.

"Have an idea of where you want to be in the next 12 to 18 months," she said.

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