The importance of a phenomenal first impression at networking events cannot be emphasized enough. Thus, it is important to have the knowledge and preparation necessary to meet professionals in your field from 28 different employers at the Industry Expo for Science, Technology, Health and Business on September 27, 2017 at 11 a.m.
There are roughly four steps to marketing yourself in the best possible light with recruiters and employers.
Prepare your Resume
The first is having a reviewed, edited and professional resume you are proud of. Starting out by building a resume, even from scratch, is difficult without guidance from individuals who know what recruiters will be looking for.
Luckily, the Biola Career Center has free resume review and counsel on how best to market yourself to companies you are passionate about. You can even send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org and have a staff member review it and give you online feedback if an in-person appointment cannot fit into your schedule.
Prepare your Confidence
Second, have confidence in who you are—professional attire and bold composure. Employers will not feel confident in seeking you out if you are not confident in your ability to benefit them as well. Know what you are about and what you have to offer that they need as well.
Prepare your Introduction
Third, introduce yourself with boldness. Meeting recruiters at expos can be intimidating, especially if there is a pressure to have everything together before you even walk up to them. Start with a confident and comfortable handshake and unwavering eye contact (there is no shame in asking to practice your handshake with a friend—my dad and I took a whole afternoon getting my networking handshake down).
Practice what is called your “Elevator Speech” in the mirror before you go. It’s a couple statements that cover who you are and what you are about that would ideally be short enough to relay during an elevator ride with an employer. For example, “My name is Samantha and I’m a journalism major at Biola University. I’m graduating this spring with a hope to pursue feature and magazine writing, and someday I hope to go to law school with a focus on social justice and human rights.”
It’s short, sweet, and you have given the employer enough information to continue listening if you seem like a good fit for them.
Fourth, know what questions you will ask potential employers prior to actually meeting them. Some examples of these are, “How did you get involved with this company?” or “I’m familiar with your work, what is the best way to get involved with your company?” Listen to what they have to say and care about their answers. Recruiters have to listen to people all day—be the one that takes the time to listen to them and they won’t forget it.
It is not mandatory to have everything figured out prior to attending the expo. Just take a deep breath, don a nice button-up, repeat in your mind all the things you’re great at and take your first step into the professional sphere. You’ll do great.
Don't forget to sign up for the Industry Expo on September 27!