How to Prepare for a Career Expo
Did you know you will likely spend as much time at work as you will with your family? This means it is important to get to know employers before being hired to ensure you have the most rewarding work experience possible.
Career expos are a professional activity designed to help you meet employers, explore internship and job opportunities and make a good first impression on your next potential employer. Here are some tips to help you feel confident and prepared for career expos so you can make valuable connections.
Before the Expo
What to Bring to a Career Expo
- A smile, a friendly yet professional attitude, and a strong handshake.
- Copies of your resume. You may want to create a few targeted resumes for certain employers, industries, or positions.
- A professional portfolio, binder, or folder to carry your resume and keep business cards. Leave your backpack, purse, and phone at home if possible.
- Questions to ask employers. This may mean doing advance research on the companies you want to talk to so you know what to ask.
- View the list of employers coming to campus on the Career Expo registration page.
- Prioritize the employers you want to meet. Don’t just focus on well known companies. There may be great opportunities with the less-familiar companies
- Learn company mission statements, departments, and job openings.
- Tailor your resume to specific employers to better present yourself as prepared and able for their job and internship opportunities.
- Prepare thoughtful questions to ask employers.
Prepare Possible Questions to Ask Employers
Here are some examples:
- What makes a great employee at your company?
- What do you most enjoy about your organization’s culture?
- Could you please tell me how you incorporate ______ (corporate responsibility, leadership development, and other values) in your company?
- What are some challenges you see interns/new employees facing in your company?
Dress to Impress
- Treat the Career Expo as if it is your first interview with an employer.
- Business professional or business casual is often the expected attire of a Career Expo.
- Check out guide on dressing to impress for inspiration.
Enhance your Resume
- Use our resume guide and bullet point guide to spruce up your resume.
Practice Your Personal Elevator Pitch
During the Expo
- Student check-in tables will be available at both ends of the tabled employers. This is your chance to coordinate your plans and get advice from Career Specialists before diving in to meet employers.
Speak to a variety of employers
- Greet employer representatives with confident eye contact and a firm handshake.
- Use your elevator pitch to present yourself and begin conversation with the representative.
- Thank the representative for their time and ask for a business card to connect in the future.
- Before moving on to speak to another employer, write a few short notes about your conversation on the back.
After the Expo
Review your Notes
- What employers did you connect with the best? What opportunities intrigued you?
- Write a brief, professional email to the representative thanking them for their time and insight, as well as asking about any future steps you would like to take.
- For example: May I visit the office sometime this month for an informational interview?
- Connect with them on LinkedIn, adding a brief note with the invitation to recap your conversation.
- For example: Hi Mr. Smith, It was great meeting you this morning at Biola's Career Expo. Hearing more about [Company]'s work in [Industry] sounds very interesting. I look forward to speaking with you more in the future. Sincerely, student name)