Career Expo Plan of Action
A real opportunity may well be awaiting you at the ORU Career Expo; take the event seriously. This is your moment to impress the recruiter or representative. First impressions are of the utmost importance. In the midst of the events that recruiters attend every year, only a small percentage of students will stand out in the minds of recruiters at the end of each event. Be certain you are one of those candidates. You can no longer afford to wait until the week before graduation to search for a job, and waiting until the week of Spring Break is not recommended if you would like priority placement.
What is your purpose for going to the Career Expo?
- Find a full-time professional position
- Find a part-time or seasonal job
- Build your personal network
- Research companies and organizations; explore what opportunities are out there in greater depth
- Practice communication skills and rehearse interviewing techniques
Develop and customize your resume
You may want one or more resumes depending on your interests and target industries.
The more you can customize your resume to each potential employer, the better your
chances are of standing out from the crowd.
Bring many copies of your resume. There are usually at 35-55 employers at each Career Expo, so you may well find that there are more companies in attendance than you originally though you would find interesting. Make sure you have several back-up copies of your resume to hand potential employers. You may well also want to bring transcripts, references, and contact information in the form of affiliation cards.
Come prepared - make sure you have researched each company
Before the Fair, you can review the ORU online directory of employers and their job opportunities. Spend some time gathering background information on organizations that interest you, then you can ask very focused, intelligent, and specific questions. Visit their websites, learn the latest news on them, prepare questions for the recruiters and find out what positions they are looking to fill. Your preparation will become evident in your interaction with company representatives. You'll be able to engage in relevant conversation and ask more intelligent questions, in the end you will really be a stand out candidate. Don't be the student asking "So what does your company do?" If you are truly interested in an interview, you will make sure that you are well prepared with current information.
Know who you're talking to
It's easy to get confused with so many potential employers at each event. Prepare a specific list of questions for each organization you are most interested in talking with. Make sure you know who you're talking to. Be careful not to call the recruiter by the wrong name. Also, do not mention another company's name. The representative will realize that you're not paying attention and won't call you back.
Dress your best
First impressions are important in this setting. While campus attire might feel more comfortable for the Career Expo once you arrive, you will probably be most comfortable if you at least dress in "business casual", though we recommend that you always dress for the job you really want even if you know that job is a few years away. One of the main comments from past Career Expos has been that ORU students are some of the best dressed of any campus recruiters visit. Lets keep this tradition going!
Come as early as possible
You may need to return between classes. Typically, fairs are less crowded in early hours and are busiest during the time right after chapel during the lunch hour and then at the end of the Career Expo. Visit recruiters at the start of the fair, when they're still fresh and lines are short. That gives you the chance to meet with your top companies, with time to spare for your "B" companies. Did you ever see candidates running from booth to booth, working up a good sweat? Do you think people in this category get a follow-up interview?
Acquaint yourself with ‘the lay of the land'
When you arrive, take a few minutes to review the map and directory for the fair. Usually in the directory you will find not only the location of each company, but also the names of all the recruiters attending for that company as well as contact information for your ‘after Expo' follow-up. You may feel more comfortable if you quickly locate and walk by the employers in whom you're most interested. This will confirm their location and alert you to any crowds or lines of other students waiting.
Prioritize the employers you're most attracted to
You may find it easiest to start with the employers in which you're the least interested, but still hold some interest to you. This will allow you to hone your approach and to be most confident when you approach the employers you're especially excited about. Plus, if you are at least a little interested, it will show in your demeanor and the recruiters will still feel good about the visit with you and ORU in general. Be sure to balance this tip with the reality that you may have little time and that many other students may be interested in the same employers. Assume that you will need to wait to speak with some employers.
The ORU Expo internet directory provides a brief summary of employers' opportunities and may not have been submitted by the same people who come to the Expo. Some positions may no longer be available, and other openings may have just emerged. No single employer representative is knowledgeable about all positions available, especially in the larger organizations. Some representatives attending expos are there to share their experiences working at the organization and may not be involved in the hiring process. If the employer representative at the Expo does not know specifically about jobs/internships of interest to you, ask for the name of someone who can help you. Please drop by the Career Services Information table at the Expo if you have questions or concerns about a particular employer.
Extend your hand, say "hello," and state your name. Practice your best firm handshake; make eye-contact as you introduce yourself. Welcome the representative to ORU, and thank them at some point for coming to our university. Have your resume ready to give to the employer. This is a mini-interview! Answer questions like you would in an interview setting! Think dialogue, not monologue.
Don't waste their time or yours
This portrays both you and ORU in a less than admirable light. You only have a couple of minutes to impress them. Be prepared with your questions. Ask good questions that will help you decide whether you really would like to work for this organization. Don't wait for them to make the first move, take the initiative to begin the conversation as this will highlight your communication skills.
Make it About You
Don't have your significant other or friends hanging around you when you talk to representatives. The recruiter isn't looking to hire a team of you and your friends, only you. Find some common ground, often you will find that you have more in common with the recruiters than you think, as many who recruit at ORU are alumni.
Be confident in your presentation. In the one minute that the recruiter invests in your resume, the employer should know your experiences and skills. Ensure that your resume is polished, concise, and digestible. Career Services can help you with your resume before the Expo.
Communication is King
The number one skill that recruiters are looking for is communication. Can you communicate effectively with them? This is an indicator of how well you will communicate with colleagues and clients. Your resume may be the best they've seen, but it becomes irrelevant if you can't effectively communicate. Word of advice: fear not, just be comfortable with who you are (and Who constantly walks with you).
Take notes, there may be a test
When you inquire about next steps and the possibility of talking with additional managers, taking some notes can do nothing but benefit you. 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 organization whom you can contact later. Note specific employer information sessions, on-campus interviewing, and projected hiring dates that will affect you. You will not be able to take advantage of this information if you don't record it. This kind of preparation will also impress the recruiters.
Ask the representative for his/her card
Promptly send a thank-you note after the expo. Having the business card of the representative you have just spoken with serves at least three purposes. First, you have a direct contact with the organization, including the proper spelling of the representative's name, direct telephone line, etc. Second, a brief thank-you note acknowledges the help they gave you and the time they took to visit the campus. Third, sending thank-you notes is a good professional habit to develop now rather than later.
Be respectful of employers' materials/sample items
This is not early Christmas or birthday shopping time. Some employers bring large quantities of print materials or "give-aways" clearly intended for students to take. Other employers bring a few copies of printed materials, and sample products as displays at their tables. Always check with employers before taking materials from their tables and don't take materials still packed in boxes. Some employers come to multiple days of expos and plan to have enough materials for all days.
Extend good old ORU courteousness and genuine Christian manners
In addition to representing yourself, you also represent your department and the university. All of the organizations at the Expo are there because of their interest in hiring ORU students. Some representatives are ORU alumni. Demonstrate sensitivity to other students waiting to speak with employers by keeping your questions brief and offering to continue your conversation at a later time. Enjoy the fair and your interaction with the employers and help make sure they do the same.
Follow-up, Follow-up, Follow-up
If you are interested in moving to the next level (and the one after that, and the one after that), which must start with a more formal interview, let them know so. Ask them about the next step. Make sure you get the name of the person you spoke with from each organization. Confirm their contact information on the Expo Information List is accurate in case you have further questions. Once you have their information, you can thank them for their time by sending a thank-you card following the event. If a second interview isn't scheduled immediately, don't worry, maybe your card will help them make a decision to invite you back.