By Lindsey Shanck, Toppel Peer Advisor

A room full of students milling around in suits, a constant low rumble of chatter and logos everywhere I turned, the nerves kicked in. What if they don’t like me, or I say something wrong? Is my resume good enough? Should I go up to more companies than I had originally planned?

These were just a few of the thoughts that went through my head when I attended Expo for the first time. Toppel Career Center hosts Career Expo, a job fair consisting of an array of graduate schools and employers in every industry for students to attend; some companies recruit for internships, others for full time positions. On September 19th, students will flock to the BankUnited Center to partake in this event.

Whether you are a freshman, graduating senior, or alumni, it is strongly encouraged that you attend. Freshman that attend Expo get a leg up for every other year that they are at the U. Not only will they gain valuable experience in networking, they also begin to build on connections that could deem useful in coming years.

Although I didn’t attend as a freshman, I wish that I did. I was so nervous going in as a junior that I didn’t feel as confident as I would have liked to. So if it is your first time attending too, here are 5 tips to help you prepare.

 

1 – Practice, practice, practice your elevator pitch!

An elevator pitch is a brief yet concise introduction that can help inform the employer you are talking to about who you are and what your intentions are. We recommend telling them about your present, past, then future. Information you should include are your major and year in school, an internship or job you’ve had, and your career goals. Practice this pitch in the mirror, in front of friends, and record yourself until you feel confident reciting it.

2 – Wear clothing you are comfortable in.

While professional dress is required for entrance into Expo, make sure that whatever you are wearing is something you feel comfortable in. If you are wearing high heels that you cannot walk in, or a suit jacket that is unbearably tight, it will be apparent to others.

3 – Know who you are talking to.

Pull up the list of employers attending Expo on hireacane.com, and choose a few employers you would definitely like to talk to. Do some research about those few companies and learn more about them so you when you talk to the recruiter it is apparent that you are interested in the company. Sharing what you like about the company and specifically why you would like to be a part of it will set you apart from others.

4 – Bring many resumes!

After you have your resume critiqued by a peer advisor at Toppel, print out 20 copies to bring with you to Expo. Although you may only be interested in four companies, another company might catch your eye or you might strike up an interesting conversation with a recruiter that you weren’t expecting.

5 – GO TO EXPO!

Of course my last piece of advice is to go to Expo. I strongly regret not going my first two years of college and missing that valuable practice. Many of the same companies attend every year, and making those connections three years ago might have helped me now. Register by logging into your Handshake account, clicking on “Fairs”, then Fall Expo.

 

See you there!