Career Expos are designed to offer LMU students and alumni a chance to gather literature, explore job and internship opportunities, and meet with potential employers. CPD recommends that students dress professionally (business attire) when attending this event. This is your first opportunity to make a great impression with employers, so be prepared.
What to Bring
Copies of your résumé
Bring 25 to 40 copies depending on the size of the event. Be sure it represents your knowledge, skills, and abilities effectively. If you are looking at several career options, you may want to have two or more targeted résumés.
A smile, a strong handshake, and a positive attitude
First impressions are important. Approach an employer, make eye contact, smile, and offer your hand when you introduce yourself.
Prepare and practice a 30-second introduction to the employer
Be prepared to share basic information about yourself and your career interests. For example, "Hello, my name is Sarah Johnson. I'm a senior here at Loyola Marymount University and am majoring in English. I'm very interested in a marketing career. As you can see on my résumé, I just completed an internship in the Marketing Division of the ABC Company in Los Angeles, where I was recognized for my creativity and ability to work effectively with clients and teammates. I've also taken some courses in business marketing. I'm very interested in talking with you about marketing opportunities with your organization."
Information about the organizations attending
Login to Handshake to view registered employers and gather as much information as possible before the Expo. To maximize the brief time you will have with each employer, know how your skills and interests match their needs. Don't just concentrate on the "big names." There are often great opportunities with organizations with which you are not familiar. Know which employers are attending the fair. Research employer websites. Make “A” and “B” lists of employers to meet.
Career Expos require you to move from table to table, introducing yourself to each representative. Each time you meet someone, be at your best, as refreshed as possible. First impressions matter.
Things to Avoid
Don't cruise the booths with a group of friends. Interact with recruiters on your own. Make your own positive impression.
Don't carry your backpack, large purse, or other paraphernalia with you. Carry your résumé in a professional-looking portfolio or small briefcase. It will keep your résumé neat and handy, and gives you a place to file business cards of the recruiters you meet.
Don’t ask “So what do you guys do?” or “How much does this position pay?” Demonstrate to employers what you know about them to show that you have done your research.
Don't come dressed casually. A Career Expo is a professional activity—perhaps your first contact with your future employer.
Don't "wing it." Do your homework. Research the employers just as you would for an interview. Focus on why you want to work for the organization, what problems you can help them solve, and what you can do for them.
Don't come during the last half hour of the event. Many employers travel a long distance to attend the fair and may need to leave early. If you come late, you may miss organizations you wanted to contact.
Business cards from the recruiters you have met. Use the cards to write follow-up notes to those organizations in which you are most interested.
Notes about contacts you made. Take paper and pen with you to write down important details about particular organizations, including names of people who may not have had business cards. Take a few minutes after you leave each table to jot down these notes.
Information about organizations you have contacted. Most recruiters will have information to give you, including company brochures, position descriptions, and branded giveaways. Graciously accept this material, and be sure to read items of interest after the Expo.
A better sense of your career options. After the Expo you will have made contact with several organizations that hire people with your skills and interests. In thinking about their needs and your background, evaluate whether each company might be a match for you.
Self-confidence in interacting with employers. The Career Expo gives you the opportunity to practice your communication skills in a less stressful environment than a formal interview setting. Use this experience to practice talking about your academic and professional accomplishments, knowledge, and interests.
A Well-Dressed Presentable You
- Remember you are making a first impression
- Wear business casual at a minimum; business attire is preferable
- No jeans, caps, shorts, or midriffs
- Keep jewelry to a minimum
- Be well-groomed (clean cut hair, clean nails, etc.)
- Avoid perfumes and overpowering after shaves
- Carry a pack of breath mints - use them before meeting employers
Questions to Ask Employers
- What are you looking for in the employees you hire?
- What are the characteristics of your most successful employees?
- Are there specific career tracks within the organization?
- What can the typical employee hired in your division expect to be doing in 2, 5, or 10 years?
- What is your organization’s culture like?
- Are there opportunities for on-going training through your organization?
- What made you choose this company and why do you stay?
- How long have you been with the company?
- What is the one thing that most surprised you about this company?
Increase Your Odds
- Check the Handshake calendar and track employers on a regular basis to see if companies of interest have posted positions or will be conducting on-campus interviews.
- Attend Employer Information Sessions on campus.
- Schedule a coaching appointment with a career coach in CPD to learn about ways to follow up.