Career Tributes, more commonly known as Careers, were tributes who trained throughout their life to compete in the Hunger Games. They attended a special combat academy trained by victors until they turned 18, when they would volunteer. Careers came from the wealthier districts: 1, 2, and 4, and being a tribute was seen as a great honor to them. However, the Career Tributes would occasionally form an alliance with a strong tribute, regardless of their district. The Careers in the 74th Hunger Games were led by Cato. In the 75th Hunger Games, there was no known leader of the Career alliance.
It is unclear when Career Tributes began training in advance for the Hunger Games. At the time of the 10th Hunger Games, the Games were still in a stage of infancy and lacked many of the features that would appear in future installments of the games. After becoming an apprentice Gamemaker, Coriolanus Snow instituted several reforms, such as the creation of the Victors' Villages, which he hoped would encourage a better class of tribute to volunteer.
Career Tributes were almost always the strongest, most agile, and most flexible players in the Hunger Games, having been prepared and trained since they were born. Even though training tributes before the Games began was technically illegal, the Career districts got away with this due to their wealth and closer ties to the Capitol. The willingness to kill their opponents before the Games even began, cultivated from years of preparation and the support of their families and fellow district citizens, gave Careers a tremendous mental and physical advantage over the other tributes. However, it could also give them the disadvantage of arrogance.
These tributes volunteered to compete in the Games, causing much more commotion during the Reaping than necessary. In the other districts (especially in poorer ones such as districts 10, 11 and 12), becoming a volunteer tribute was viewed as sheer suicide. However, in Career districts, volunteering was very common as everyone wanted to win the Games, even if it meant risking their life. Each year, the tributes from the Career Districts were hand picked by their mentors for being top of the classes in the academies instead of having their names be picked out randomly in bowls like in the other districts. In wealthy districts, victors are regarded as heroes and amassed great fame after winning the Games. In the movies, the Careers were very "chatty", and Glimmer and Cato ran around mocking tributes they were going to kill or have killed. In contrast, the Career Tributes were generally more stealthy and menacing in the novels.
Prior to the start of each Hunger Games, Careers generally began to form an alliance among themselves, which would cooperate when the Games went underway to secure weapons and supplies and take out common opponents. This gave the Careers an enormous edge during the bloodbath, as they already had a strategy in place to carry out and did not need to worry about being killed by each other. However, once most of the other tributes were out of the way, they would turn on their fellow Careers.
Despite their edge in preparation for the Games, Careers had some severe disadvantages: Being well fed their entire lives, they were not as used to going hungry as tributes who had spent their lives in poverty and were very reliant on securing the supplies from the Cornucopia. Another disadvantage they had from being well fed their entire lives was their presumed heavy weight, making it difficult for them to climb trees or chase a particularly light and speedy person. They were usually very arrogant and tended to underestimate their opponents, therefore they would sometimes not think before acting. Though Careers were very effective in combat confrontations, their basic survival skills were generally quite poor; thus, if they did not remove their most dangerous opponents in the initial bloodbath (when their advantage was usually strongest) they gradually lost the initiative unless they could keep control of the Cornucopia supplies.
Careers often attempted to recruit normal tributes who had potential or superior traits to their own, such as Katniss for her archery skills, Peeta for his physical strength, and Thresh for both his superior size and physical strength.
District 1, District 2, and District 4 tended to be the Career districts, although other tributes were allowed to join if they showed exceptional skill. These districts were richer and had more supplies than other districts, giving a huge advantage to their tributes and allowing them to prepare and train. These districts normally had an elaborate way of choosing volunteers, as they had no lack of them.
In The Hunger Games film, District 4 was not a Career district, so the only Careers were Glimmer, Marvel, Clove, and Cato.
74th Hunger Games
In the 74th Hunger Games, the Career Pack consisted of seven members total: the female tribute from District 4, the boy from District 3, Cato, Clove, Marvel, Glimmer, and Peeta. All four tributes from Districts 1 and 2 were specially trained with a specific weapon and were able to retrieve it at the Cornucopia: Cato with a short broadsword, Marvel with javelins (throwing spears), Glimmer with a bow and arrows (though Katniss stated that she was actually a poor shot) and Clove with a wide variety of knives. The group teamed up with Peeta to find Katniss, though several members were contemplating on whether or not they should kill Peeta early before going after Katniss. The pack didn't fare too well, however, as the boy from District 4 died in the bloodbath on the first day, but this was because he wasn't very skilled, or because of his very small size.
Not long after, Glimmer and the District 4 girl were killed by tracker jacker stings, which was the result of a nest of the muttations dropped on them by Katniss. As Katniss went to retrieve Glimmer's bow, Cato saw Peeta aid her in her escape. This led Cato to severely wounding Peeta's leg and abandoning him, lowering the pack's number to three. The group later included the boy from District 3 because he could reactivate the land mines located around the round metal plates that brought the tributes into the arena, after digging them up and retrieving them. The Career Tributes used these mines as a defense against the other opposing tributes by positioning them around their stocks of food, weapons, and equipment that they were able to amass from the Cornucopia bloodbath, ready to detonate if anyone were to stealthily approach and steal their supplies. For this reason, the Careers exhibited confidence at leaving their supply stocks at the open, with only one of them standing out as guard. The Careers presumably familiarized themselves as to where the mines were hid, so as to not put themselves at risk when they need to retrieved something from the cache pyramid. Unfortunately, Foxface was able to discover and even replicate their pattern of navigating across the mines, allowing her to safely approach the supplies and take small amounts of food. The land mines were placed in such a way that they could destroy the supply stocks entirely if several of them were to explode. This is what happened when Katniss used her bow to cause several apples to fall from a burlap sack, leveling the pyramid.
Briefly after Katniss blew up the Careers' supplies, Cato killed the boy from District 3 out of anger. Minutes later, Marvel speared and killed Rue, and Katniss killed him in vengeance by shooting an arrow into his neck. At the feast, Thresh bashed Clove's head with a large rock. Cato was the last Career left in a flurry of bloodlust. He made it to the final three and almost killed Peeta, but Katniss shot his hand and knocked him off the edge of the Cornucopia. Wolf muttations tore at him until Katniss shot him out of pity.
Katniss killed almost all of the Career Tributes in these games; she killed the District 1 tributes and (in the book only) the District 4 female by dropping a tracker jacker nest on their alliance. Cato was mercy-killed by Katniss while being mauled by wolf-like muttations.
In the Cornucopia bloodbath, the District 4 male (not a Career in the movie) was unusually killed in the bloodbath. It is unknown how he was killed, as it wasn't typical for Careers to die in the bloodbath.
75th Hunger Games
In the 75th Hunger Games, or the third Quarter Quell, the Career pack originated with Enobaria and Brutus from District 2 and Gloss and Cashmere from District 1. Tributes from District 4 were not part of the Career pack, as Finnick Odair and Mags teamed up with Katniss and Peeta. Once Gloss and Cashmere were killed by Katniss and Johanna respectively, Brutus and Enobaria hid until the end. Then, Peeta killed Brutus after watching him kill Chaff, and Enobaria was taken by the Capitol.
- Cato: Male tribute from District 2 and leader of the 74th Hunger Games' Career pack. He was killed by Katniss using her final arrow out of pity. His weapon was a sword.
- Clove: The female tribute from District 2. She was killed by Thresh with a rock slammed into her skull at the Feast in the 74th Hunger Games. (In the film, he bashed her head against the Cornucopia twice.) She used throwing knives.
- Marvel: The male tribute from District 1. He was killed by Katniss with an arrow after he threw a spear into Rue's stomach, who died several minutes later. His weapon was a throwing spear (javelin).
- Glimmer: The female tribute from District 1. She was killed by tracker jackers whose nest was dropped by Katniss in the 74th Hunger Games. Her weapon was a bow, but she was quite a bad shot.
- Cashmere: A female victor from District 1; killed by Johanna Mason, who threw an axe into her chest. She specialized in throwing daggers.
- Gloss: A male victor from District 1; killed by Katniss using an arrow in the temple (chest in the movie) after he slit Wiress' throat in the 75th Hunger Games. His weapon was throwing knives.
- Brutus: Male victor from District 2; killed by Peeta after Brutus killed Chaff in the 75th Hunger Games. He used a spear.
- Enobaria: Female victor from District 2; captured by the Capitol after the 75th Hunger Games and still alive after the Second Rebellion. Her main weapon was a sword, but she also used throwing knives.
- District 4 female (74th HG): Killed by tracker jackers, whose nest was dropped by Katniss in the 74th Hunger Games. In the film, she wasn't a part of the Careers and was killed by Cato in the bloodbath.
- District 1 female (50th HG): Killed by her own axe when Haymitch ducked and the axe rebounded off the force field and buried itself in her head.
- District 3 male (74th HG): Neck snapped by Cato in a fit of rage after their supplies were destroyed by Katniss. He is not from a career district but the career pack allowed him into their alliance after Glimmers death as part of a deal to rewire mines and place them around their supply stash.
- Finnick Odair: Male victor from District 4; friend of Katniss and Peeta who was killed by lizard mutts in the Battle of the Capitol in Mockingjay.
- Annie Cresta (presumed): Female victor from District 4; captured by the Capitol to hurt Finnick, alive at the end of the rebellion.
- Lyme: Female victor from District 2; killed either due to natural causes or during the Victors' Purge.
- Augustus Braun: Male victor from District 1; killed either due to natural causes or during the Victors' Purge.
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Epilogue