You are here
8 ways to make the most out of career expos
07 June 2015
Career expos are an essential element of any graduate’s job search. You can visit dozens of potential employers on the same day and in the same place, while networking with key recruiters, hiring managers, and company representatives. They are a great way to find out more about your industry and the companies you are interested in working for.
Here are some key ways to make the most of your next career expo visit:
Be well prepared
Before you attend a career expo, ensure you have multiple copies of an up-to-date CV and cover letter and put some thought into what you want to get out of the day. Do you want to collect information on a particular company? Learn more about your industry? Meet a particular recruiter? Perhaps you’re curious about the culture at a certain company?
The best approach is to spend quality time talking with a few, well-targeted employers who are looking for your specific skill set and experience.
Do some thorough research
You don’t want to wander around just dropping resumes off at every booth. The best approach is to spend quality time talking with a few, well-targeted employers who are looking for your specific skill set and experience. Visit the career expo website beforehand to find out who is attending. Research the companies you are interested in, so you are prepared to speak knowledgeably about the company with its representatives and make a lasting impression.
Giving yourself plenty of time to arrive means you can avoid standing in long lines, work out the layout of the event, and decide which employer you want to visit in what order. Large, high profile companies typically have the longest lines, so if some are on your list, make a point of visiting them first. You can then take some time to ‘shop around’ for other possibilities and do some networking.
Make a great impression
First impressions count. Be prepared to introduce yourself assertively, giving a firm handshake, showing enthusiasm and making eye contact. Although expos tend to be friendly, informal events, don’t be too casual. Treat a career expo like a job interview. Dress and act professionally, and be concise, polite and positive.
Take the opportunity to expand your network
Meeting job recruiters – and even fellow job seekers – is a great opportunity to build your professional network. Collect business cards and make notes about conversations you have with representatives or topics discussed during interviews. Following up with them later will be much easier if you follow these simple steps.
Be prepared for on-the-spot interviews
Some companies may want to do short, on-the-spot interviews at a career expo. Be prepared to talk about your career objectives, why you want to work for that company, what you have to offer, why they should hire you and your past achievements. Be confident when talking about your abilities – a positive tone creates the best impression.
Ask the right questions
When speaking to a company representative, ask about the types of roles on offer at the company, the leadership team, and company culture. As well as figuring out if the company is a good match for you, intelligent and insightful questions will display your enthusiasm to work for the company, and demonstrate your knowledge and research. The answers to these questions might also change your mind about a company you had previously been keen to work for.
Always end on a positive note
The people at these events usually do not make hiring decisions. Close the conversation by asking how you might go about arranging a second interview, how to contact the hiring manager, or what steps to take next. Follow this up with an email expressing how much you appreciated the time they took to talk with you. Mention the name or location of the career expo and the positions you discussed and reiterate your interest in working for their company. This is a great way to help you stand out. Manners matter!
Career expos can be overwhelming, but they are full of opportunity if you approach them in a practical and considered way.
Preparation, presentation, and a positive attitude will go a long way in helping you make connections and uncover opportunities.