This event has been canceled.
Three steps to success: Prepare, make an impression, and follow-up
Don’t let the “expo” fool you – this is a high stakes professional networking opportunity. Companies attend events like this to find the BEST candidates for open positions, and to get the most talented individuals excited about their companies. Prepare extensively and arrive with a plan to leave with solid job leads. Here is how to do it:
Prep starts long before the actual expo.
Update your resume
Resumes are required for this event! Be sure it’s polished and up to date, and have it reviewed by at least one professional.
Polish your portfolio
Talking about your designs just doesn’t have the same impact as showing them. Compile your work and have it reviewed beforehand. Make work samples available- either hard copy or digital- the day of the fair.
Print business cards
These make a great compliment to your resume. Plus, you will occasionally encounter a recruiter who won’t accept resumes on the spot. This way, you’ve got something professional to leave behind.
Prepare your pitch
Few of us are inherently good at selling ourselves, so it’s wise to take some time to practice. Brainstorm a short, 30 second summary that you can use when you introduce yourself to professionals. Include your past experience, strengths, and your future goals.
Research the companies
This is not a craft fair! You should approach professionals with knowledge about what they do. Within a few weeks of the fair we will have a list of companies on this site. Start by digging around the company website. Check their ‘careers’ page to gather info about open positions (but keep in mind that many jobs are not openly posted). Look at their client list and recent projects. Read industry publications and blogs to see what others are saying about them. Our Career Research pages will give you clues on where to start.
Make an Impression
The big day is here- get ready!
Dress the part
While you probably don’t need to wear a full suit, you shouldn’t wander in wearing sweat pants either. A nice pair of pants/skirt and a nice shirt will show that you take this seriously.
We will have up to 50 companies in attendance, but you won’t have time to meet them all. When you arrive, take a minute to scope out the space and decide who you want to talk to first. Hint: it can be best to ‘warm up’ with a company you are interested in, but not your dream job.
Flex that handshake
When you arrive, companies will be at tables waiting to meet you. Your interactions will go something like this: approach and give a firm (but not crushing) handshake. Launch with your short introduction, then segue into a question. What kind of talent are you looking for today? Who is the ideal employee? They will likely give you a rundown of company and hiring information, and ask you about the work you do. Depending on the crowd, this interaction will only last about 5 minutes.
It’s always ok to ask what the next step should be. Some companies will accept your resume on the spot, others will require that you apply online. Whatever they advise, try to snag a business card and make notes about next steps.
What you do after the fair is as important as what you did the day of.
Did they ask you to apply online? Email them a resume and work samples? Do it- immediately. If you wait more than 24 hours, you may have missed your chance. It’s wise to email a cover letter with resume attached (and a link to your web portfolio).
Land an informational interview
You may have met some companies who didn’t have current vacancies in your area of interest. Think long term. If you got their contact info, follow up to ask if you can have 20 minutes of their time to learn more about the company. Expo interactions will be short, so this gives you the chance to prepare additional questions and gather information that will help you land a job down the road.