By all accounts, the 4th Asian Career Fair (ACF) held on February 13, 2016 would go down in the history books as another very successful event. Despite the frigid cold weather, more than 225 job seekers and 30 job exhibitors turned out at the CCACC Center for one of the most productive job networking events in the Washington DC region. The event was organized by the ACF Consortium, an organization established in 2012 to promote networking and job finding opportunities for Asian American job seekers. This ACF event primarily targets Asian students and Asian American young professionals who need help with finding the right jobs.
The 4th ACF was co-sponsored by five Chinese community organizations: Chinese American Professionals Association of Metropolitan Washington DC (CAPA), Monte Jade Science & Technology Association, Washington DC Chapter (MJ-DC), Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC), Organization of Chinese Americans, Washington DC Chapter (OCA-DC) and Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce, Greater Washington DC (TCCGW). The Executive Coordinator of the ACF Consortium, Dr. Edward Wan, acknowledged that the good result of this ACF event is a reflection of how well different Chinese community organizations can work together to focus on a common cause. It was the collective wisdom and voluntary spirit from many leaders of the Asian community that made the difference.
The 2016 ACF program was divided into four Sessions: In Session I, ACF provided a job skills training seminar to teach basic skills, such as the preparation of winning resumes and successful interviews. ACF also taught job seekers about updated job finding tools and Internet resources as well as the proper ways to network with peers and mentors. For international students, ACF also provided updated information on H-1B work permit and other VISA requirements. In Session II, ACF invited a group of successful government leaders to address a variety of topics related to diversity and Federal job opportunities. We also presented on the importance of mentoring and leadership skills necessary for career advancement. In Session III, we invited previous ACF attendants to speak about their own job hunting struggles and successful internship experiences. In Session IV, we held a traditional job fair where 30 local companies set up job exhibition booths to talk with job seekers, collect resumes and conduct job interviews. All 12 presenters gave excellent presentations and many made a profound impact on the job seekers. For example, after Steven Chen’s comment on the importance of internships, several job seekers approached me and asked about potential CCACC internship opportunities. Some job seekers also took notice of George Chang’s message on the involvement of community organizations and asked me about how to join CAPA, OCA-DC and MJ-DC. Not only were students eager to find job opportunities, but there were also plenty of people who were willing to listen and take notes on how to improve their knowledge and better prepare themselves for job hunting skills.
In terms of job fair performance, we were pleased that a diverse group of 30 companies came to offering potential jobs interviews. These companies offered potential internships or job opportunities in the fields of finance, accounting, investment, IT, cyber security, bio-technology, environmental engineering, electrical engineering and technology R&D. However, by far the longest lines attracting the most job seekers were the big financial firms like Wells Fargo. The representatives from Wells Fargo told me that he and his colleague interviewed at least 45 job seekers and they believed that many would be suitable workers for entry-level jobs at Wells Fargo
We want to take this opportunity to thank nearly 300 participants of the 4th Asian Career Fair, especially, all the donors who had made donations to the ACF Consortium (TECRO, CAPA, MJ-DC,
CCACC, T&T Consulting Services Inc., Moy & Chung Financial and Law office of Elaine Chang). We also want to thank all 30 job exhibitors whom had braved the extremely cold weather to come to set up interview booths. Next, our special gratitude goes to all the presenters and moderators (Mary Tom, Josephine Hopkins, Adam Lee, Elaine Chang, George Chang, Sharon Wing, Rebecca Leng, Steve Lin, Ivan Lin, Steven Chen, Dorothy Deng, Kenny Lew, Tony Lau and Darryl Tom
and Chen-yu Yen), who made outstanding presentations at various Sessions. Also, I want to this opportunity to specially thank MJ-DC for organizing a fantastic workshop session (i.e., Steven Lin, Dorothy Deng , Kenny Lew and Tony Lau). Special thanks also go to Darryl Tom, who helped critique at least 15 resumes for job seekers. I am also indebted to Jen-Hai Yen and his team of volunteers for a remarkable job, even though the on-site registration process took a much longer time than we anticipated, lastly, we appreciate the tremendous help provided by Steve Lin and other CCACC staffs. Without their dedication efforts, the success of the event would not be possible.
We received positive feedback already from many job seekers indicating that we have done an excellent job and they really appreciated all aspects of the program. Some people said that they were very impressed with this year’s presenters and a more balanced format – a combination of a job skills seminar, job experience advice and mock job interview workshop.
After the event, we had a brief discussion during dinner on how to improve the program and find ways to attract more participants in the future. I have taken notes on all these valuable suggestions. One suggestion was that the ACF Consortium should be more organized with an elected Board and an Executive Director. We should also build our own website to post all the presentations and information on job openings. Another suggestion was to schedule the ACF event in October- November time frame to avoid cold weather. If you have any suggestions for improving our future ACF event, please let us know.
Overall, the 4th Asian Career Fair proved that the ACF is an excellent networking opportunity among Asian students, young professionals and Chinese community leaders to engage in dialogue and help find job & career opportunities. For those who missed this year’s ACF, please mark your calendar, we will be sponsoring another ACF event in October/November 2016. See you all at the next ACF event!