Who’s Prepared to Network at a Career Fair?

The key to attending any career fair is to have a well-prepared résumé, references, portfolio, appearance and a plan to network. Imagine, if you will, being a fly on the wall at the biggest career fair of the year. Based only on what you can see, can you determine if these job seekers have come to the fair prepared to network?

Job Seeker #1

Jim attends the job fair in hopes of obtaining a sales position. He brings a portfolio that contains copies of his résumé that highlights his years of sales experience, skills and qualifications. He specifically targets his sales experience to the position with well-defined bulleted lists describing his duties. The portfolio also includes copies of his personal and professional references, complete with current contact information. He is dressed in a nice business suit with a shirt and tie and specifically approaches employers who are hiring for sales positions. When he meets new employers, he offers a firm handshake and exchanges business cards.

Job Seeker #2

Ramona is at the fair looking for a position as an administrative assistant with a local law firm. She doesn’t have any experience in an office setting, but she has recently completed office management classes at the community college. Her portfolio contains her multiple copies of her résumé, certificate of completion, references and recent typing samples. The résumé outlines her retail experience with detailed bulleted lists and is error-free, as if somebody proofread it for her. Ramona has on dress slacks and a nice blouse, with minimal jewelry and her hair done appropriately for a professional office setting.

Job Seeker #3

Margaret wants to land any kind of job and is at the career fair after a friend told her about it the night before. She has a very spotty work history, hopping from one job to the next.  Her résumé is folded up in her pocket and is clearly outdated, with long paragraphs describing her job duties while working in retail and food service. She holds back and waits for employers to acknowledge her, then doesn’t offer to shake hands or ask for their business cards. She stopped at the ABC Foods booth to fill out an application and asked the representative for a phone book because she needed to look up past employers’ addresses and phone numbers. Since she woke up late in the morning, Margaret dressed quickly and has on denim capri pants, a t-shirt, socks and hot pink rubber slip-on shoes.

What do you think? What perception do you think employers have about our career fair attendees? Do you think they’ll get the job? Tell us in the comments!

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