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Should I Staple My Resume for a Job Fair? The Answer

Should I Staple My Resume for a Job Fair? The Answer

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Job fairs are an increasingly common way for job-hunters to apply to many different companies at once, and for companies to fill many positions in the same way.

Because of the fierce competition that may exist, you need to be sure that you are determined, clean-cut, and well organized.

How should you present your resume at a place like this?

It is important to know what employers prefer.


“Should I Staple My Resume for a Job Fair?”

Resumes should never be stapled when handed out at a job fair or to any employer in general. Stapled resumes are despised by most employers because they are difficult to take apart. Use paper clips if necessary or keep your resume to one-page when presenting it at a job fair.

Never under any circumstance should you hand an employer a stapled resume.

Consider this one of the golden rules of job hunting, because there are no exceptions.

Especially at a job fair when an employer may get hundreds of resumes, yours should never be stapled. 


Why do employers dislike stapled resumes?

Stapled resumes are a problem because they can jam and damage paper shredders. Most companies have information privacy rules in place, which forces them to shred or destroy any documents containing personal data.

This data includes the name, address, and phone number written on your resume.

When it comes time to dispose of old resumes (both for hired and non-hired applicants) it then becomes someone’s job to remove every staple from every resume by hand.

At best, this is tedious. At worst, they may injure their hands on the sharp metal edges. Do not be the person that ruins an employer’s day thanks to a staple accident!


Should your resume have a cover letter at a job fair?

You do not need to include a cover letter with your resume at a job fair. In fact, this would be a particularly odd thing to do, considering most people are giving out the same resumes to multiple employers.

Do not try to use a cover letter, even if you think it is ‘one size fits all’. 

Cover letters are supposed to be designed to target the specific company, and to explain why you are a perfect fit for them and the open position.

This is a difficult question to answer at a job fair when most of the employers receive more generalized resumes. 

Unlike the usual way of tailoring each resume to each employer, job fairs attract applicants who turn in generalized resumes containing an overview of their talents.

Specialized parts of a resume such as cover letters should not be brought to a job fair.


Should you bring a 2-page resume to a job-fair?

Resumes for job fairs are kept shorter because it is not often possible to know what those employers are seeking beforehand. Because you cannot specifically tailor the resume, it is best to create a resume including generalized skills. Keep it to one page, as it is easier for an employer to collect.

Do not try to avoid this by printing a resume on both sides, as this is considered bad practice by employers.

While it can be tempting to include every skill and job you have done to make your resume look well-rounded, it is not good practice to do so. Job fairs can be hectic and be filled with hundreds of people all giving out resumes. 

The worst-case scenario is that a 2-page resume will get separated amidst the chaos, and this would cause annoyance to the employer who must shuffle through hundreds of papers to put together the two parts.

They would likely think it is not worth the trouble, and this half-resume would end up in the trash.


Can you use a paper clip on a 2-page resume at a job fair?

If you have enough relevant experience to warrant a 2-page resume, you may use a paper clip to hold the pages together at a job fair. Paper clips are easily removable, are common to offices, and can be re-used. Use a plain silver paper clip at the top-left corner of the resume.

Between the choices of stapling, having two loose-leaf pages, or using a paper clip for a resume at a job fair, paper clips are the best option for 2-page resumes.

Employers will not hurt their hands trying to remove a paper clip, and they are easy to notice so that they are unlikely to end up damaging a shredder. 

Unlike with digital email attachments, the downside of physical paper clips is that they tend to leave unsightly marks on the top of the resume page, especially when placed in a stack.

This is not a deal-breaker for most employers, but it does make a resume look worse compared to a pristine single-page resume. 

The safest option when using paper clips is to go with a medium-small silver clip.

Non-traditional colors like pink or green may be appreciated in graphic design or animation jobs, but it is best to keep your resume as generic as possible for a job fair.

Stick to the classic silver so that your resume is taken seriously by all.


What are the best practices for resumes at a job fair?

When writing a resume for a job fair, it is best to keep it to one page if possible. This ensures the second page does not get lost among hundreds of other applicants they will likely receive that day. Include skills which cross over multiple industries and can be applied to many situations.

Including skills that are easily applicable to multiple industries is important because in this instance, you want this resume to be ‘one size fits all’.

Unlike the usual advice of tailoring a resume to each employer you apply to, job fairs require you to be ready with one resume for all jobs. 

Skills or jobs related to the following are best to include in this scenario are skills such as:

  • Technology
    • Programming languages, Microsoft Word and Excel, website design, email maintenance, graphic design, and advertisement design.
  • Language
    • Language skills (especially ones common to customers in the region), translation work, multi-lingual call center work, experience with study abroad, and experience abroad for company business.
  • Leadership
    • Running meetings, training new employees, writing plans for new projects, scheduling shifts, and customer outreach.
  • Administration
    • Filing paperwork, email communication, copying and distributing files, maintaining meeting schedules, telephone reception, and personal assistant experience.

By including a mix of the skills (even those which are self-taught), you can be assured that you present yourself as a valuable asset to multiple companies without having to update your resume on the spot for each employer.