Fair Game

Written by Jesse Sannicandro

My first day on the job as professional writing intern at Career Services and Employer Relations (CSER) was the day of the Employment and Enjoyment Fair, the biggest job fair that is held at Framingham State every year;  I didn’t know what to expect.  I got a red notebook and came up with questions to interview employers.  I went up to the President’s Conference Room II where CSER was hosting a lunch catered by Sodexo.  The room was completely empty save for me and the sandwiches.  Slowly, the representatives started coming in.  Quickly, I realized I was pretty nervous about my assignment.  People were here to eat and I was here to interrupt their meal with questions.

The first person I spoke to was Mark who was at the fair representing Aaron’s, a franchise of SEI/Aaron’s Inc.  I initially felt anxious, like I was on my first job interview again.  I stuttered through my introduction, unsure of what exactly I should say.  After he answered my questions, Mark asked what I would be using this for.  My nerves lessened a bit now that the formal interview was over.  We chatted a bit longer and wished each other luck with our days.  After my first question and answer session, I was starting to realize that these were just regular people after all.  I could talk to them more like a professor, and less like a boss.

I was getting more relaxed by my second interview.  I spoke with Liz, Lauren, and Karolina, who were representing BJ’s.  My introduction was much smoother now that I had a better idea of what I was doing.  I no longer had to rely as much on my questions.  There was more of a conversational feel to this interview, which was good.  This was more indicative of interviews in the informal environment of a job fair; there’s less pressure than a formal interview.  I felt like I could go with the flow.

A few more interviews in and I was continuing to gain confidence in my abilities.  The questions were flowing more easily and I was able to quickly come up with follow-ups to representatives’ answers. When speaking with an employer it’s always useful to know what they are looking for.  In this situation, I was able to get better answers when I knew what questions to lead with.  Skills like these could certainly be useful for informational job interviews.  I continued on with my task, increasingly well-prepared.

By the time I interviewed Barb and Sarah from The Paper Store, I knew what to say and ask in order to get good quotes.  I love The Paper Store, so I told them as much.  They mentioned that they employ a lot of students from Framingham State University, particularly, at the store located in Shopper’s World.  With regards to employing FSU students, Barb said, “you guys have a great work ethic,” and of course, I was deeply flattered.  When I asked what they were most looking forward to today, Barb said she always enjoys meeting the students, and also noted that Dawn Ross (my new boss) is very welcoming.  “I love coming here, I feel like I’m coming home,” she said.  After I conducted eight interviews, I determined that I had enough information to write about my experience.

I had gone to the fair in 2015, so I had talked to employers before, but seeing behind the scenes was very cool.  Being able to introduce myself as Jesse, professional writing intern at the Department of Career Services and Employer Relations was a delight that I had never felt before.  The whole thing was an experience to remember.  To be honest, I felt a bit like I was being thrown to the wolves right off the bat.  Dawn later confirmed these fears for me when she told me that she does not usually have people who are new to the office do the fair on their first day.  Still, I survived and now I feel like I’m ready to run with the pack.