Columns / Sports

Why Going To A Career Fair Is Pointless

Story by Taylor Hodges, Sports Editor
Photo Courtesy of Seattle University

This column has the potential to upset some of you; probably the faculty more. I want to first say that I am in no way attacking any individual members within the sports academic programs here at Aquinas. I love my major and I love the energy and devotion you provide to your students. Those in the sport management field, thank you for all that you’ve done for us sport management majors. From emailing us about internship opportunities to setting up the MSSMA, I know I speak for the rest of us when I say you’re all an inspiration to us trying to make something of ourselves in the sports industry. While you read this, please understand that this is the opinion of one student.

We are all familiar with conferences aren’t we? They usually consist of numerous speakers, long-hours, and a career fair, which is probably the main reason you’d attend one. The career fair allows you to get in front of businesses and let them know why you’d be a good candidate for their company. You usually give them your elevator pitch, hand over your resume, and if you’re smart, follow up with them. I’ve been to two sport conferences and I’ve obviously taken some positives away from them, but I’ve also come away with some negatives.

The positives for me mainly consist of hearing some interesting speakers, getting some good advice, and meeting people in your respective field since students from other schools are in attendance. I remember hearing a baseball scout talk about what path he took to get to where he is. Since I was interested in scouting hockey at the time, I figured I could learn a thing or two from him and I did. Most of it was life advice that I probably could’ve come across on Twitter, but nonetheless, I like to think I’m a better man because of it.

Forgive me for being blunt, but I believe career fairs are the most pointless things in the world and if you’re not the exception -the student who seems to accomplish whatever, whenever they want- it’ll be a huge waste of your time. These career fairs serve in the interest of one side only and it’s not the attendees. Companies attend this event because instead of doing leg work to find candidates, they can set up their table knowing that there’s going to be a gymnasium full of kids coming through the doors any second that they can promote their company too. If anything they’re there to promote their brand rather than hire you. What seems wrong with the concept of a career fair?

Well first off, career fairs have a lot of companies in attendance, so you would think you have a really good chance of coming away with a job right? Well champ, you forget about the other 200 people who showed up wearing the exact same attire as you, of which, there’s a good chance at least one of them has more experience listed on their resume. It’s a true test of “survival of the fittest.” You either get eaten or eat. Second, you get about 10 minutes or so to make an impression on them and sorry to be blunt again, but they probably aren’t paying attention to you because there mind is elsewhere. Can you imagine how many people they listen to in a span of three hours? I mean I get annoyed when I have to talk extensively with five people.

When you’re trying to get a job you want the focus to be on you. You don’t want to be in a room with 200 other people trying to get the same job as you. You want to increase your odds not decrease them. It’s common sense; and yes when you speak to a company in a one on one interview, they do speak to others, but it’s not in a setting where they pit you against one another. You’re the only one there. Honestly, you’re not getting the attention you deserve at a career fair and that’s upsetting. Plus, the companies that usually show up to career fairs are either desperate to find candidates, or are looking for free work and they know you’ll do it because in this day and age you need to do internships. If you’re like me and you want to work for a sports team, but not in the sales department, good luck because that’s who usually shows up.

In an age where being unique is suppose to be something you’re proud of, why do we still have career fairs? It makes absolutely no sense to me why you would want to be in a room with 200 plus people trying to claw your way through in the hopes of getting a job. We aren’t animals in the wild.

About the writer…

10301416_10155109711375080_5312500598063418902_nTaylor Hodges is a senior majoring in Sport Management/ Business Administration. He is the sports editor for The Saint and interns with the public relations department for the Grand Rapids Griffins. He hopes to one day break into the hockey business as a General Manager, but until then, encourages you to follow him on Twitter and download his mixtape.

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