Expo as an Underclassman
This blog post was written by Peer Career Ambassador, Disha Sethi (’20).
You have just started college or are in your second year and still adjusting to the college environment, trying to find your ‘ideal career path.’ Isn’t a career fair for those seeking internships and jobs in a particular industry and not for an underclassmen? Wrong! You can also take advantage of the career expo. In fact, starting early keeps you ahead of the game.
Attending the expo as an underclassmen can be viewed as the practice round in networking with recruiters. You can make invaluable connections that you can utilize later on. I remember going to the career expo as a freshmen when I had no idea which industry I wanted to focus on. However, just talking to the recruiters and understanding what the companies do was really beneficial. Keep in mind that as freshmen, you are not probably a candidate the employers are searching for to hire, but showcasing interest early on makes you stand apart from the crowd. There is no harm in testing the waters and attending the expo. I talked to so many recruiters from different industries and when I see them in another expo or spotlight, they remember having a conversation with me!
So how do you tackle the expo as a freshmen or sophomore?
Here are some tips that you might find helpful before the big day:
- Create a good first impression
Whether your purpose of going to the career expo is to network, search for internships, or just show up, you have to ensure that you are wearing professional attire. You will be given a name tag to wear as well. Pro tip: Make sure your name tag is placed on the right side because when you shake hands with anyone, your name is in the line of sight of the person. When greeting an employer, make eye contact, smile, and give a firm handshake. I have also found it helpful to only carry items that are necessary so that you are not juggling too many things in your hand while you are walking around and networking.
- Refresh your resume
Your resume is a document that has your entire experience captured in a page. It acts as an identity card to enter the professional world. It is also a working document, which means that you have to keep updating it as you have more experience. A high school resume and a college resume are very different. You want to make sure that your resume showcases that you are a college student. CCD provides a lot of resources and resume tips and tricks. There are walk-ins everyday, specific to class year, where you can get help on your resume. It is always a good idea to carry multiple copies of your resume for any career fair. You can give your resume to the recruiter if you have had a meaningful conversation with them.
- Research the companies
Handshake has a list of all the companies attending the career fair and it is crucial that to maximize your learning from the career expo, you should research and read up on the companies. Knowing what they do and who they are looking for gives you an edge above the rest. If you show the recruiter that you have knowledge of the company and are not just randomly stopping by their booth, you will create a more positive impression. This will also help you ask more informed questions. For example, asking a recruiter “Do you sponsor international students?” is a bad idea. This information is available on Handshake and their company website. You should ask questions that are insightful and that cannot be found on their website.
Again, this is a great opportunity to get a sense of the companies and to practice those networking skills. Show up as your best self and prepare to rock the career expo!