Career Expos + Events
Career fairs (or expos) offer you the chance to meet with a variety of employers in one location, in one day. Some of the time, organizational reps won’t be able to discuss specific jobs, but they will be able to talk with you about the organization, the kinds of jobs generally available, requirements, career paths, and the like. In other cases, they’re recruiting for specific internships or jobs and they’ll accept resumes to take back with them for hiring managers.
The CCD hosts at least two expos per year, one per semester, at the GSU’s Metcalf Ballroom.
At the Expo
Attending a career expo is just one step in the career exploration and internship/job search process. Employers participate to meet students and recruit employees. As a student or alumnus, you can attend a campus career expo to look for a job, gather career information, and develop your network of career contacts.
Conversations at career expos are less formal and structured than a scheduled internship or job interview, but since you’ll be speaking to representatives of companies and organizations with possible openings, these discussions can sometimes turn into preliminary interviews. The representatives you speak to may themselves be hiring managers or have the influence to refer you to the appropriate hiring authority for the next step.
- Tips to Make the Most of Your Career Expo Experience:
- Look at the employers coming to the expo and narrow your list to those most relevant to your interests.
- Research these employers thoroughly. Start with BU CareerLink, where you can find information about attending organizations and their open positions. Visit their websites, and query any personal contacts you may have at any of the companies.
- Work on your elevator pitch so that you can articulate to employers a summary of your relevant skills, interests, and background. Think through the following questions to help with the process: What are your goals, both academic and career-related? What are your relevant skills? What kind of position are you hoping for? How might you be a fit for an opportunity they’re recruiting for?
- You’ll want to dress professionally (a suit may or may not be necessary depending on the types of organizations you’re interested in). Avoid T-shirts, jeans, short skirts, sportswear, and hats. It’s not a date, so it’s best to keep it conservative.
- Turn off your cell phone and put away your iPod.
- Plan to spend as much time at the expo as you can. You’ll be given floor plans identifying where the employer booths are located.
- Initially, you may want to walk around the expo to get comfortable and develop a sense of the layout. Warm up by starting with an employer or two of interest, but not at the top of your list. Then head to the ones you most want to speak with. If you still have time after finishing your list, contact and gather information about employers who you are less familiar with, but are of interest.
- Broaden your focus and include many types of employers. For instance, you may not have considered working for a hospital, but hospitals recruit and hire professionals in many different fields (e.g., management information systems, marketing, or finance).
- When meeting employers, introduce yourself in a confident manner, with a smile, firm handshake, and good eye contact. This is the time to draw on the elevator pitch you prepared.
- Ask questions reflecting the research you’ve done on the employers and your interest in a possible position with them. Ask about the employer’s goals, application process, and about the qualifications the employer is seeking, etc.
- Bring copies of your resume to leave with employers. Check out the resume section or stop by during resume review hours if you need help before the fair. If you have references, bring copies of that list as well.
- Have a pen and paper so you can take down information.
- Be aware of time demands on employers. Don’t monopolize an employer’s time. Ask specific questions and offer to follow up after the fair, as appropriate.
- As you leave each employer, learn what happens next, and what, if anything, you should do to advance your candidacy. Ask for a business card so you can maintain future contact and send follow-up thank-you notes (handwritten or by email) to those employers in whom you’re most interested.
- Finally, relax and enjoy the experience. Hopefully, it will lead to some real opportunities, and you’ll leave with an armload of helpful career-related information.
More Career Expo Tips
Download the CCD’s full handout on Quick Tips for Career Expo Success (.pdf).
Read an article on how to get the most out of a career expo: Making Career Fairs Work for You