Prepare for the Career & Intern Expo
Why Attend a Career Expo/Fair?
- Increase your likelihood of landing a full-time job or valuable internship! Nearly 85% of responding employers indicated internships are the top recruiting method for their investment of time and money.
- Make yourself a priority for employers! Representatives typically note first impressions from the Career Expo/Fair. If you make a good impression, this could get you past the tedious screening process and on to an interview.
- Make your time work for you! Learn about a lot of career and internship opportunities with a number of employers in a short period of time.
- Make contacts with recruiters and key professionals within an organization! 80% of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections.
- Strengthen your networking skills by delivering your "30-second sound bite" to introduce yourself and describe your skills and experiences (even just for practice!)
- Receive a professional headshot photo for your LinkedIn profile with our photographer.
Putting your best self forward takes preparation, so we have included resources below to assist you.
Before the Expo
- Polish your resume. Check out resources for creating and updating your resume in the Document Library of your CLUPostings account, including sample resumes by major, creating a Highlights of Qualifications section, and writing Accomplishment Statements. Remove "Objective" statement if you have one since there will be various employers at the event. Upload to CLUPostings for feedback. Make edits, then print 30 copies on nice resume paper.
- Review the list of participating employers and research the ones that interest you most—check their websites, Linked In profile, read news reports and press releases, and find out if they have an opening that would fit your skill set, typically found under "Careers" or "Join our Team" sections on the top menu or bottom of company websites.
- Prepare good questions for these employers for the fair—questions that show off your research. Pro tip: Avoid questions that are easy to look up (e.g., "What kind of company are you?"), as recruiters appreciate questions that add value to their time (e.g., "What makes you stand out from your competitors?", or "What is your company culture like?") Find more sample questions in the CLUPostings Document Library, "Interview Questions".
- Develop a strategy. Decide what you want to get out of the career fair. Do you wish to learn about different companies/industries, apply for a specific job, or both? Plan accordingly. Additional topics of interest and questions you can ask recruiters can be found in this article from the Muse.
- Practice your presentation and your handshake. Have a short introduction (15-30 second sound bite) that summarizes who you are, your experience, and skills. Focus on how you would benefit the employer. Have a firm handshake (or wave to avoid sharing germs), smile, and maintain eye contact throughout. Hand them your resume as you complete your sound bite.
- Attend a Career Services Workshop. Master resume writing, interviewing, preparing for the Career & Intern Expo, marketing yourself via social media, networking skills, and more through in-person, virtual, and asychronous workshop options via CLUPostings Document Library.
- Plan to dress for success. You want to make a great first impression to employers you are speaking to. There are a variety of resources that you can seek out for clothing options at certain times of the year, including career closets from SSS/ Allies in STEM (if you are a student member) and Campus Student Pantry. You can also ask to borrow clothing from roommates and friends or visit a local thrift store.
During the Expo
- Come ready! Dress professionally and be clean and well-groomed. First impressions are critical.
- Bring 30 copies of your resume, and a copy of your Employer Tracking Sheet.
- Check in at the registration table and pick up a student program to see a list of employers attending.
- Find the employers you had planned to approach.
- Be prepared to interview with as many companies as possible. Remember to be patient at the fair, as career fairs are busy places. A typical recruiter will talk with dozens of people for only a few hours so it's important to respect a recruiter's time and others. Pick up the company brochure while you wait to absorb last-minute information.
- Make the most of all opportunities. Even if you don't know anything about a company, approach it as a learning opportunity. Not everything has to be a ticket to a job; career fairs are also good places to help people figure out what jobs are out there. Don't overlook the significance of part-time jobs, nearly 85% of responding employers indicated internships are the top recruiting method for their investment of time and money.
- Be friendly, honest, confident, and enthusiastic. Don't forget to smile and have fun.
- Collect business cards from recruiters you speak with so you have all of their contact information. Ask recruiters the best way to follow-up (e-mails, calls, letters, or sometimes nothing at all). Note this on your Employer Tracking Sheet, including other items such as the date they said to follow-up, the name of a different contact they referred you need to call, etc.
- Don't be discouraged by the number of candidates at the fair, but still make a great impression and follow-up to truly stand out.
After the Expo
- Organize the brochures and business cards you've gathered and make more notes on the companies you've visited.
- Follow up with a personalized email to each company you are interested in. Thank the recruiter for their time and mention you hope to hear from them soon. Some ways and samples of ways you can follow-up are listed in these articles from The Muse and The Balance Career.
- Keep time open in the following weeks for interviews.
- Ensure you have a professional and clear voicemail greeting on your phone in the case that employers call and leave messages for you, and you need to call them back when you are available. Some samples you can utilize are available via Indeed.