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Steve Choitakis: The South by Southwest Conference is underway in the heart of Texas, Austin, this week. The yearly gathering has become a must for people in the music, film, and in the technology industries. Now this year there’s a new addition to the technology portion: it’s a jobs booth. And as Marketplace Web Producer Melissa Kaplan reports, these days, there are a lot of people stopping by.

Melissa Kaplan: Andrea Moya is an unemployed Web editor from New York. She came to South by Southwest this year to find a job.

ANDREA MOYA: Let’s see what this is — Near Santa Barbara. I’m nowhere near Santa Barbara.

Moya scans help-wanted postings at the career booth in a crowded exhibition hall at the Austin Convention Center. About 200 companies have tacked up open positions. Robbin Kohn is among the volunteers staffing the booth.

ROBBIN KOHN: We’ve got about, you know, usually five or 10 people in the booth at any given time looking for jobs. Quite a few of them have been taking notes and taking down information on their telephones.

South by Southwest organizers created the career booth as a way to formalize the networking that happens organically at the conference. For tech industry recruiters, the jobs booth is a potential gold mine.

Molly Auer works for The Star Group, an ad agency in Philadelphia.

MOLLY AUER: Well, this is a conference that brings in the best of the best in all of technology, so I’m hoping some of those people might be interested in coming to Philly and working for The Star Group.

Web editor Moya is hoping to stay in New York, and is using the jobs booth to find out what companies are looking for.

MOYA: I think it’s understood that everybody’s here trying to make connections and meet people that will eventually get them somewhere career-wise.

And if she strikes out on a job, at least she can stick around for a good show. The music portion of the conference kicks off Wednesday.

In Austin, I’m Melissa Kaplan for Marketplace.

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