Networking at Career Expo
This blog post was written by Peer Career Ambassador, Luke Maritiros (’21).
It is finally here! The day you have been waiting for all summer…the career expo! While it may be exciting that you get to network with a bunch of professional adults, you need to do some preparation beforehand.
No matter what your GPA is, the internships on your resume, or what startup you created, there is one thing to do first and foremost: dress for the occasion. The way you dress will make a first impression on every single person in that room. Everyone is susceptible to judging a book by its cover, and it will leave a bad impression if you don’t dress the part. Business professional is suggested and highly recommended. The next most important part of preparation is your resume. Look at it now, a few days before the expo, to see if your resume is up to speed. Does it have your most current GPA? What you did this summer? What skills you want to showcase? If not, stop by the office and a PCA will be more than happy to help. Once you have prepped for the event, now you need to focus on the most important part: networking.
The best and easiest way to network is to come prepared with questions, be yourself, bring multiple copies of your resume, and follow-up.
Prepare Questions: Showing that you have done previous research about the company, like the job offerings that currently exist or what they pride themselves on, leaves a good impression. Having background knowledge before starting a discussion will save you a lot of time trying to understand the company where you could have been trying to understand if the company is a good fit for you. You can determine this by asking genuine questions to the people that work there. If you ask “do you like the position you are in?” or “how many hours do you work per week?” they might not give a fully accurate answer, but might provide insight that you weren’t expecting. A significant percentage of the employees that visit are Babson alums and want to help you succeed. Having a breadth of detailed questions can make you stand out among the crowd.
Be Yourself: I think this is the most important aspect of networking. While it may seem that portraying yourself as the confident and talkative college kid is the right move, that is not what every company is looking for. Some are hiring for technical knowledge while some are looking for sales people. If you be yourself, however, you can reflect on the conversations you have and and the impression you were left with. Did you leave feeling excited? Uninterested? Stressed by how much work there would be? All of these questions are important to digest and analyze right after the event. Take out a notebook and jot down some notes of your reactions. I promise, a month of two from now you will thank yourself when you think back and cannot remember specific details. Now you have a backup version of the story in a notebook.
Resumes: This is self-explanatory, but to reinforce it, bring multiple versions of your resume so that you can leave them with multiple companies. They don’t want to see your resume at the event because they will look at it afterward. For them, a resume is like a business card; a tool used to remember you and contact you if necessary.
Follow-Up: Following up is the last step to having a phenomenal career expo. After having great conversations, being yourself, and showing off your CCD-analyzed resume, following up will put the cherry on top. A nice email saying thank you or even asking to meet over coffee is another step towards leaving an impression in the employee’s memory.
Follow these steps to have a fantastic Career Expo!