How to Prepare for Attending an Expo?

Tips for making a good impression with employers

Industries and organisations vary in their specific requirements but fundamentally all employers want to know:

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you do the job?
  • Will you fit into the organisation?

Prepare Yourself

The 2019 Careers and Employment Expos are an opportunity for you to:

  • obtain background information on career opportunities
  • research the employability skills, abilities and other personal attributes sought after by employers
  • begin promoting your identified talents to a targeted shortlist of graduate employers
  • make a good impression

Below are some quick tips on what you can be doing before, during and after the Careers and Employment Expo.

Update your resume

During the expo, you will have options to talk with employers and may have an opportunity to hand your preferred employer a copy of your resume.  It is a good idea to update your resume prior to the event.

The Careers & Student Development Office regularly run resume writing workshops.  Attending a workshop prior to an expo is highly recommended.  Alternatively, you can bring your resume in to the Careers & Student Development Office and have someone review it for you.

Please note that the Careers & Student Development Office will also man a booth during the expo so this is another opportunity for you to have someone review your resume on the day.

Do your research

Do you know which companies are attending the expo?  Prior to the Expo, you should allocate some time to research the employers that are attending the expo.  Researching an organisation can yield big dividends.  Visit a preferred employer's website, read annual reports, recruiting brochures and media reports. If you spend a little time getting some background information, you can then ask focused and specific questions. This impresses representatives because it shows a genuine interest in them.

When you arrive, take a few minutes to review the floor plan.  You may feel more comfortable if you quickly locate the employers in whom you're most interested.

Your personal "pitch"

Be prepared to introduce yourself to employers and tell them briefly about your current degree, areas of interest, current courses and relevant extra-curricular activities. Upon meeting an employer, it’s always good to shake hands and show eye contact.  Be ready to talk about your career interests as well as academic and extracurricular experiences to demonstrate your skills and strengths.

Dress the part

First impressions are important.  Although most graduate employers don’t expect you to wear full business attire to the Expo, you are encouraged to wear appropriate clothing (for example, dark pants or jeans and a crisp shirt).

Talk to employers - take initiative to start a conversation; don't just stand back and listen to others and hang out with friends; give yourself enough time.  Show your interest - ask for a business card.

Take notes

During the expo, it is good practice to take notes.  The representative at the expo may not be able to answer all of your questions or know specifics about your job interests.  Write down the names, telephone numbers, etc. of other staff in the organisation that a representative may offer you and attempt to contact them later.

Collect resources - make sure you gather relevant resources or know how to access important organisational information after the expo.

Ask quality questions

It’s important to prepare a list of questions to ask employers on the day.  Standout prospective employees have a thorough understanding of the employer.  Questions that you may consider asking need to demonstrate an understanding of details that you have identified in your research including organisational structure, philosophy, goals, products or services, recent news items and media coverage, and major factors currently impacting the business community (economy, trade, government policy).

Here are some sample questions you may consider:

  • From research I’ve conducted, I understand your graduate program is structured across several rotations, can you please explain the structure and rotations in more detail? For example, the length and the type of work.
  • What are possible career paths?
  • What are the key aspects you look for in new employees (academic results, personal attributes, extracurricular activities and work experience or a combination)?
  • I understand your organisation places a lot of focus on learning and development; can you please expand on the type of development within the graduate program?
  • What do you view as the benefits and challenges of working for this organisation?
  • What strategy has your organisation set for the next 2-3 years?
  • What is your role in the organisation? (Know to whom you are talking - a human resources specialist or a technical person.)

Follow up

Ensure you follow up on opportunities. If you have a conversation that goes well, write a thank-you email to the recruiter after the Expo, just as you would for an interview. You may consider attaching your resume to the e-mail if you feel it's appropriate and make reference to the conversation you had with the individual.