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3 Steps to Take Before the Career Expo (and 3 Mistakes to Avoid)

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

It is time for Career Expo preparations! Follow these steps so that you can feel polished and well organized for the event where you can meet employers face to face in the fall or online in the spring.


STEPS TO TAKE:


Step #1: Prepare

Start by attending any of the Career Center led workshops like the Career Expo Prep leading up to the Career Expo, in order to polish your resume, learn how the expo event works and practice your pitch. Get advice from Career Center Staff and employers and take the time to feel organized and ready before the event. See a complete event schedule on Handshake.


Also if you still have questions you can attend our Career Lab. This is our drop-in career support, no appointment needed! Career Lab: Monday - Friday, 11 am - 4 pm in MG Hall Ste. 500


Handshake also has a Career Expo Guide and other resources on the Career Expo Prep tile. Review the information there 24/7 to help you prepare.



Step #2: Research the Employers Registered

Handshake's Career Fair page includes all the details about the Career Expo. There you can view (and use filters to sort) employers registered to attend, identify who is hiring and target companies who are hiring for positions of interest. You can also view the map to find where employers will be located at the event.


In addition, use the checklists on the Career Expo Prep tile to organize your employer research. Be sure to bring your notes with you to the event so you can customize your “pitch” and ask questions that demonstrate your research.


Download the Handshake App for an in-person event to help making checking in to the event and employer tables easier. This way you will have access to employer info on the go.



Step #3: First Impressions Matter: Prepare your Pitch, Questions, & Attire

Dress to impress! Professional Interview attire is required - see our Interview Guide for help. Pack light for that day and do not bring a lot of extras. Remember to have copies of your resume for an in-person event.


Practice and have your pitch ready. Remember to be personable and prepare thoughtful questions for each employer you plan to visit. See our elevator pitch checklist HERE.



MISTAKES TO AVOID


#1 Mistake to Avoid: Arriving Under-dressed

The Career Expo is a professional event, you should arrive in a full suit, conventional in color and style (think greys, blacks, darker blues, etc.).


Arriving under-dressed would make a bad first impression and would not gain you entry into the event.


You should look polished from head to toe, starting with clean hair and ending with professional style shoes (that you are comfortable walking in - not sneakers).


Accessories or fragrances should be minimal. Pack light and leave behind any clutter like a bag or backpack but do bring a portfolio with resume copies and pen/paper.


If you have any questions about attire please visit Career Lab or contact the center.



#2 Mistake to Avoid: Arrive late

Doors open for students at 3:00 pm, and though the event continues until 7:00 pm it's fairly common that some employers leave early. The Career Expo can get busy, which means during peak attendance times you may have to wait to enter if the location is at maximum capacity or you may wait in lines before you can greet recruiters. These are all critical reasons to arrive early and allot plenty of time to participate. If you have a class conflict, speak to the professor beforehand to request to be excused. This is a one day event that should have priority for job and internship seekers.


Use the Goodman Express bus schedule if the event is at Stable Arena to arrange transportation or car pool with friends and allocate time for travel as well.



#3 Mistake to Avoid: Using the Career Expo as Your Only Job or Internship Search Strategy

While the Career Expo is an excellent way to interact with 100+ employers, it shouldn’t be the only strategy you use for your job or internship search.

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