Many people might hem and haw about attending a Career Expo, but it actually has more advantages than you might imagine. People may make excuses for not going – the most common, “I can apply for jobs on my own online.”
However, statistics show that’s just not good enough. According to Charity Morrow, Rasmussen College career services advisor, 80 percent of jobs are not posted online.
“It really is about who you know,” Morrow said. “And with a Career Expo, you are able to network and meet with the actual hiring manager from specific companies. In the case of our college, a company cannot attend a career expo unless they are for sure hiring.”
Morrow said one of the biggest complaints she hears about job search sites like Monster.com and Indeed.com is that there are a lot of fake job postings out there from recruiters. Attending a Career Expo helps you avoid being in that situation and saves you time from sifting through those companies who are actually hiring and those jobs that aren’t real.
“Attending a Career Expo is a lot more efficient, and you get more opportunities to ask questions to managers or top performers from a member of a company’s leadership team, such as, ‘What is your team like?’” Morrow said.
Putting Fears Aside and Getting to the Career Expo
It is extremely common for students to have some fears about going to a Career Expo. Some of the most common include, apprehension of what to expect, what to do while there, what to bring and what to wear.
“Those are all very natural fears, however, with each of those there is always someone in career services or in a leadership role at the college that would love to help a student with,” Morrow said.
In addition, she said people worry most about not having something to wear. For those searching for a more affordable ensemble, try visiting Goodwill or a secondhand store.
“Both options have up-to-date clothing that is really affordable,” Morrow said. “Career services can help with this as well; it’s just a matter of people asking.”
And once you’re there, it’s really not so daunting. At the Career Expo at Rasmussen College, there are staff volunteers that know the employers, so it is not a ‘fend for yourself’ environment.
What to Expect When You Arrive
You’ve done the research on the companies you’re interested in, you’re dressed for success with your resume in-hand, now what? Talk to somebody. What matters is whether a hiring manager likes you, and whether that person can see you in that organization and working for their company, Morrow said.
It’s about making that personal connection, and making an impact on somebody. Also, attending the Expo means you have the opportunity to hand your resume to someone of importance at a company, and with that comes the chance that it will be passed on to the hiring manager or another leadership team member.
“It really is worth your time. Spend an hour walking around and picking up some business cards – having a contact at a business you want to work at is priceless,” Morrow said.
Even if you aren’t graduating for a year, Morrow stressed it is still important to attend a career expo now.
“Find out what companies are hiring for, grab some business cards and use the information in the future for when you do have to look,” Morrow said. “These students should be looking ahead to leverage that before they have to get real serious about looking for a job.”
Now, if none of these suggestions have convinced you, consider these other benefits: at the Rasmussen College Career and Networking Expos, there are guides that help individuals navigate the Expo, resume review where a resume expert helps job seekers with their resumes, and mock interviews with feedback.
One last tip: Applying to jobs anywhere within a year of graduation is completely acceptable. People will still interview you and you can still get hired. Quite often, employment is contingent on graduation. You don’t have to have the diploma in hand to apply.