In a few weeks’ time, you may have the opportunity to attend Victoria’s Campus Careers Expo (17 May) and the ICT Careers Expo (18 May). You can connect face-to-face with recruiters who make hiring decisions and to explore career opportunities available. Do your homework, as preparation for employer conversations will help you feel confident and make a good impression.

Before the Expo:

  • Review the directory of employers and research the organisations. Find out the disciplines, the types of jobs and people they are looking for, then you can ask very focused and specific questions. This impresses representatives because it shows a genuine interest in them. Develop some questions you’d like to ask and review them the night before the event. Also, think of questions you may be asked and what your answers will be. E.g. “Why would you like to work at XYZ Enterprise?” or “How does your experience relate to sales management at WW Industries?” or “Tell me a bit about your background and experience.”
  •  Update your CV and have copies to take along to the expo. Proofread carefully to ensure there is no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors  (Why not have it checked at Vic Careers Drop-ins ahead of time if you can?)
  • Practice introducing yourself with flatmates or family to get your handshake and delivery to its best point, while maintaining eye contact throughout your conversation. Showing interest and good manners is important, regardless of the type of job you are looking for. Every employer appreciates someone who is dedicated, conscientious, and attentive.
  • Prepare a 30 second marketing pitch about yourself and when the recruiter asks about your qualifications you’ll be able to answer in a confident, self-assured manner.

At the Expo:

  • Dress appropriately. First impressions are important. While campus attire is acceptable for fairs, you will probably be most comfortable and look good dressed in smart casual.
  • Be courteous! In addition to representing yourself, you also represent your department and the University. All of the organisations at the expo are there because of their interest in hiring students from your university.
  • Speak clearly when introducing yourself. Ask open-ended questions that help you gather information – “What types of positions in addition to accounting do you typically recruit for?” “What type of background and experience do you find to be most successful in the management training program?” Stay focused on the topics of the company, open jobs, and your potential fit. Once you answer a question give the employer time to reflect on what you said and to follow-up with another question or statement.
  • Take time to talk to employers. Don’t just drop off a CV and move to the next booth. Take time to get additional information and make an impression – to establish some solid job prospects.
  • Use your research to appear confident and knowledgeable. If you have done research, you won’t have to ask the question, “What does your company do?” If you have to ask, you are wasting valuable time. Instead, you could be asking questions about the position or department you are interested in. It works to your advantage if you can tell employers how your skills match what they are looking for. Employers want to hire people who are genuinely interested in their company.
  • Respect employers’ materials/sample items. Some employers bring large quantities of print materials or “give aways” clearly intended for students to take. Other employers bring a few copies of print materials, sample products, etc. as displays at their tables. Don’t be seen there to just pick up freebies!
  • Ask the representative for their business card. This provides you a direct contact with the organisation, including the proper spelling of the representative’s name, direct telephone, etc.
  • Enjoy the expo and your interaction with the employers. Let your positive attitude show!

After the Expo:

  • Follow up with a brief thank you note, a day or two after the event. It’s a good opportunity to reiterate your interest in the company and good professional habit. For the positions where you have genuine interest and saw a fit with your skills and experience, state that you enjoyed meeting them and learning more about their company and would like the opportunity to move the process forward.
  • If there were companies that did not have a job that was right for you but you have interest in other positions in the company you can follow-up and ask the recruiter for another contact in the organisation.

<!– View this video for practical advice: http://hbg.psu.edu/careers/jobfairs.shtml –>

Further resources from Pennsylvania State University:
Tips from employers
 Tips from students

And more from the Vic Careers site

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Advice, Career expos, Video

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