King George High School Hosts Reverse Career Fair

King George High School students participated in a "reverse career fair" last month, at which local employers interviewed them. Photos courtesy King George Public Schools.

By Abby Knowles

King George High School last month hosted its first ever “Reverse Career Fair,” giving students a chance to showcase their career aspirations and abilities to more than 50 professionals. 

King George High School students participated in a “reverse career fair” on February 14, 2024. Photos courtesy King George County Schools.

At a reverse career fair, job seekers – in this case, students – make display boards to promote themselves and highlight their qualifications to potential employers.

Terri Rinko, the high school’s work-based learning specialist, organized and facilitated the event.

“This is an initiative I have been trying to work into our programming and the idea that students could promote themselves was interesting,” Rinko said.

Marcus Andrews participated in the career fair. He said he wanted his personal presentation to show employers his creativity.

“I was given free rein to make my board as unique as possible and explore all aspects of my personality within it,” he said. “Any resource needed was available to showcase both my fondness for Earth Science and my love for art.”

Students worked on their presentations during their Economics and Personal Finance class. EPF is required for graduation from King George High School, and is taken primarily by juniors, with some seniors and a handful of sophomores.  

“The planning was clearly laid out for us to put our best foot forward, deadlines were set with enough time to complete aspects of our presentation, and class periods were set aside to dedicate our time to our projects,” Andrews said.

Rinko explained that the idea for a reverse career fair came to her in graduate school, and that she thinks all EPF students should participate and go through the process, which was required as a test grade for students.

Local businesses such as the Rappahannock Goodwill and Germanna Community College donated merchandise and professional attire for students.

Rappahannock Goodwill also put together a skills workshop for students. They came in for two full days and helped students practice interviews, as well as providing advice on professional attire and image.

Dora Lilly, Chief Execution Officer at Topside Federal Credit Union, attend the reverse career fair to interview the students and see how they presented themselves.

“It was an amazing experience,” Lilly said. “The students set up displays about themselves and some had resumes. We walked through and picked about six students to talk with, and did a simple interview and listened to what they had to say and we gave them tips and questions for them to ask.”

Lilly said she did not know what to expect from the students.

“You have students from all walks of life,” she said. “I interviewed students with all different career aspirations. It was so interesting to listen to them.”

This event is one that will continue as a tradition each year, during the fall and spring semesters, so that all students get the opportunity to participate.

“We are excited that King George is doing the work it’s doing in the CTE area and recognizing that while there are students that will go to college and some who don’t, that doesn’t mean there aren’t careers available to them,” said Lilly. “It’s great to give them the ability to put their best foot forward with little pressure and ease them into the whole process.”

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