Last week, I traveled to Los Angeles County in order to attend the ninth annual Long Beach-South Bay CAMFT Job Fair. I discovered a flyer for the job fair while browsing a Facebook group, and was surprised to learn that such an event existed! I was eager to attend for the purpose of promoting Paid MFT Internships and familiarizing myself with organizations that aren’t as well-known by MFT registered interns. The registration fee of $10 for a three-hour event, which included roundtable discussions about improving resumes, interviewing with employers, and creating private practices, was quite reasonable.
The event took place at the Holiday Inn in Torrance, CA. Parking was free, and it was easy to find the event. Although there was a slight delay with signing in pre-registered attendees, the CAMFT chapter members were very friendly and ensured all attendees were provided with light refreshments and a floor plan displaying where each employer’s table was located. Fellow attendees were dressed in business attire and holding padfolios containing copies of their resumes.
Representatives for the various employers arrived early in order to set up their tables and be ready to greet attendees as soon as the doors opened. Many employers offered tote bags, pens/pencils, candy, and other free goodies to attendees. Over 30 employers were present for this event (NOTE: some of these employers were only offering practicum and/or volunteer positions, which I did not realize until halfway through the event):
I approached the first table and introduced myself to the two women representing their organization. After distributing business cards and asking for theirs in return, I explained how Paid MFT Internships could benefit them by spreading the word about open positions to our followers and increasing their organization’s visibility. Both women were thrilled to learn about this valuable service, and both were incredulous about the service being offered to them for free! This seemed to be a common response when greeting representatives, and most had never heard about Paid MFT Internships (with the exception of a few representatives who happened to be MFT registered interns).
Speaking with representatives allowed me to gain some important insights as well. Some representatives appeared to be confused by our service’s name, stating that they don’t offer paid internships. When I inquired further, they stated that they “offer paid positions that interns can apply for, and we offer supervision as well.” This provided me with an opportunity to clarify that Paid MFT Internships is happy to post any job listing that allows MFT registered interns to get hours and get paid.
Other representatives appeared to be confused by the word “intern,” mistaking it for “trainee.” Again, this provided me with an opportunity to clarify that “internship” refers to post-graduate positions, whereas “practicum” refers to graduate positions. (This served to further confirm my belief that we will all be better off once we are referred to as MFT “Associates” vs. “Interns.”)
A few representatives stood out to me, and they weren’t necessarily from the larger, well-known organizations. The owner of a private practice shared how she accidentally discovered her niche, which allowed her to become more competitive and gain access to insurance panels. A representative, who happened to be both a coordinator and MFT trainee, expressed how grateful she was to have found her position. Two representatives made a point of locating me later on in order to introduce me to their colleagues (which was impressive, considering how large the room was and how many people were in attendance!).
My overall experience at the Long Beach-South Bay CAMFT Job Fair was a very positive one, and although I wasn’t attending the event for the purpose of seeking employment, I believe that MFT registered interns can benefit from job fairs like this one! It was perplexing to hear that there were fewer attendees this year, as it seemed like the Long Beach-South Bay CAMFT chapter put a great deal of time and effort into putting on the event, along with its sponsors (Pepperdine University, University of Phoenix, AATBS) and the various employers. From what I could see, most of the representatives were willing to have long conversations with prospective applicants, and while some of the representatives were from the human resources and marketing departments, many were current therapists/clinicians who could share valuable information about the employers they worked for.
One last note, for those of you who are curious about the featured image for this blog article. If you’re going to attend a job fair, then find a (positive) way to stand out from the other applicants! When creating my name tag, I added an exclamation mark at the end. It turns out something as simple as creating an eye-catching name tag allowed me to grab the attention of various representatives, who all remarked on how much they liked my name tag before I could even shake their hands and formally introduce myself!
Do you know of any other job fairs for MFT registered interns? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below!