Career Fair 2015
I participated in the career fair 2015 at Pal-Mac High School. This is my second year participating.
I’m a people-watcher. I watch people and notice their behaviors. While, some people actually do that as a pastime, I do it out of curiosity.
I notice the majority of students would come in to the room, make a 360-degree loop around the room, and leave. Some of them would even come back and do that again. I counted 4 laps for a pair of girls. They never stopped to talk to any of the businesses, they just gabbed to each other and made their circles.
Another peculiarity was most of them would not make eye contact with anyone. It kind of reminds me of how people walk by homeless people. There were a few who didn’t make eye contact because they were busy looking at their phones, but most just looked at their feet or straight ahead.
I have a news flash. If you’re a parent or if you are close to a teenage, please share this with them.
Those business owners at the career fair hold the key to YOUR future. Don’t get me wrong, not all of the students were like that. There were some who made bee-lines towards certain tables and they talked with the representatives there. And, some tables were more popular than others. Many of them will be asked, “Should I hire (fill-in-your-name)?” And, if they remember you from a career fair or if you behave in your interview the way you behaved at the career fair the answer will probably be, “NO!”, if you weren’t dressed right or sociable, or, “Yes!”, if you were dressed right and left a good impression.
The answer is simple, but may require some practice. Here’s my advice when attending a career fair…
1) Dress nicely – nobody wants to see your butt-crack (yes, for one young man that was an issue). Dress like a business person. Don’t wear some shirt with a double entendre meaning, or some huge clothing logo on it. It’s just for one day. Do it.
2) Treat every business person there as though they hold the key to your future by… 1) looking them in the eyes, 2) giving a smile, and saying, 3) “Hi”, “Hello”, “Good morning”, or some other friendly greeting.
That’s it! It is that simple.
While I do not remember my high school holding a career day, we had one in college. As a result of my “working the room” at the college career day I got the following:
- A firm job offer from Hewlett-Packard in San Diego
- A job interview at Lawrence Livermore Labs in Livermore, California, which lead to a very lucrative job offer
- A firm job offer from the Navy (also in San Diego)
- An offer to interview with the C.I.A.
- Numerous phone calls from recruiters for the weeks that followed.
While none of those led to the job I accepted, it was comforting to know, and uplifting to my confidence, that I didn’t have to worry about having a job after college. And, having three firm offers, in addition to one that I secured on my own, meant I had bargaining power. I remember telling my first employer about my other offers and I used that to get a sign-on bonus, moving expenses paid, and a month’s living expenses. They knew I was serious because if they didn’t get me, H-P, LLL or the Navy would.
I remember going to that job fair dressed in slacks, a dress shirt and wearing a tie. I brought with me a leather folder with a one-page resume printed on linen paper. I had 25 copies and I placed them strategically.